US-based biotechnology company Novavax has begun testing its new coronavirus vaccine candidates in animal models. The company constructed several vaccine candidates against Covid-19.
The company expects that findings from the preclinical testing will help determine an optimal candidate for human studies, with a clinical trial anticipated to begin in May or June.
Novavax’s candidates are based on its recombinant protein nanoparticle technology platform to produce antigens obtained from the coronavirus spike (S) protein.
To boost immune responses, the company plans to leverage its Matrix-M adjuvant with the vaccine candidate.
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Novavax president and CEO Stanley Erck said: “Our previous experience working with other coronaviruses, including both MERS and SARS, allowed us to mobilise quickly against COVID-19 and successfully complete the critical preliminary steps to engineer viable vaccine candidates.
“Now that the protein has been expressed stably in our baculovirus system, we aim to identify the optimal candidate and scale up production of sufficient vaccine for preliminary clinical trials.”
Last month, the company announced plans to use its recombinant nanoparticle technology to develop a Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
Novavax previously developed MERS and SARS vaccines, said to have shown encouraging immunogenicity and complete protection in preclinical testing.
Furthermore, the company created a clinically immunogenetic Ebola vaccine candidate, which demonstrated effectiveness in primate studies.