US-based biotechnology company Novavax has partnered with Nucleus Network to initiate the clinical trials for its Covid-19 vaccine SARS-CoV-2 Recombinant Spike Protein Nanoparticle (NVX-CoV2373).

The Phase I trial of NVX-CoV2373 will begin at Nucleus’ Melbourne and Brisbane clinics in mid-May. The preliminary immunogenicity and safety results from the study are expected to be available in July.

Nucleus Network CEO Cameron Johnson said: “Nucleus has a rich history of Phase I vaccine trials, and a long-standing track-record with Novavax. We are well positioned to implement rapid testing with first-in-human trials over the coming weeks.

“With the capacity to conduct this trial across both our Melbourne and Brisbane clinics, we will be assisting Novavax to undertake Phase I trials and fast track NVX-CoV2373 to potential subsequent development as soon as possible.”

Nucleus owns 150 of the total 250 dedicated Phase I beds available in Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia. It has a workforce of more than 400 specialists and offers a multi-site pathway to sponsors to conduct their clinical trials.

Novavax president and CEO Stanley Erck said: “The urgent global race to develop a vaccine against the Covid-19 pandemic drove our rapid identification and selection of an optimal, highly immunogenic vaccine candidate. We are pleased that Nucleus, our long-time partner, was able to accommodate our accelerated timeline.”

Previously, Novavax worked on vaccines for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

This allows the company to leverage its understanding of the viruses and adapt their study to create a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19.