British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has collaborated with Chinese firm Clover Biopharmaceuticals to assess coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine candidate with the pandemic adjuvant system.
Under the research collaboration, the companies will evaluate Clover’s protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidate (COVID-19 S-Trimer) with GSK’s pandemic adjuvant system.
GSK’s pandemic adjuvant system will help further assess COVID-19 S-Trimer in preclinical studies.
With advanced in-house, commercial-scale cGMP biomanufacturing capabilities in China, Clover intends to scale-up and manufacture large-quantities of a new coronavirus vaccine.
GSK Vaccines chief medical officer Thomas Breuer said: “We are proud to contribute to cutting edge research from scientists at Clover Biopharmaceuticals in China as part of our strategy to make our adjuvant technology available to selected partners who have a promising vaccine candidate against the newly emerged coronavirus.”
An adjuvant will be added to some vaccines to improve the immune response, helping to create a better immunity against infections than the vaccine alone.
Based on the genomic DNA sequence of the newly-identified SARS-CoV-2 virus, Clover scientists commenced the designing of viral spike (S)-protein construct and completed its gene synthesis.
The SARS-CoV-2, which is a novel coronavirus detected in late 2019 at Chinese city Wuhan, belongs to a family of enveloped RNA viruses that comprise of MERS and SARS.
By applying its patented Trimer-Tag technology, Clover has manufactured S-Trimer subunit vaccine through a rapid mammalian cell-culture based expression system. It is similar to the native trimeric viral spike.
Trimer-Tag is an advanced drug development platform, which enables to produce novel, covalently-trimerised fusion proteins that can better target earlier undruggable pathways.
Clover chief strategy officer and board director Joshua Liang said: “At Clover we look forward to evaluating the combination of GSK’s pandemic adjuvant system and our S-Trimer as a vaccine candidate.
“Utilising our proprietary Timer-Tag technology that has been shown to be recognized by antibodies produced by multiple previously-infected coronavirus patients, S-Trimer is being rapidly developed to support global efforts in combating this current and any future coronavirus outbreaks.”