The sister company of Cells4Life – Stabilitech – has joined the race to create a vaccine for the coronavirus which has put the country into lockdown and is currently raising £6 million in funding to finance the next crucial stage of development.

Stabilitech, a UK biotechnology company which develops next-generation vaccines and biopharmaceuticals, is seeking an investment of £6 million to fund clinical trials and manufacturing of an oral COVID-19 capsule vaccine.

There are a number of potential vaccine candidates for the globally devastating virus. However, Stabilitech’s ‘OraPro-COVID-19′ is unique. ‘OraPro-COVID-19’ is an oral capsule which could be self-administered and delivered in the post.

In an interview with The Pharma Letter, Chairman of Stabilitech and also Cells4Life, Wayne Channon tells us more about the unique COVID-19 oral vaccine.

“Delivering a COVID-19 vaccine in the shortest time possible is only half the challenge. Delivering a vaccine that works is more important. COVID-19 infects the mucous membranes, or linings, of the ear, nose throat and lungs. That is why we are targeting our vaccine to hit COVID-19 where it sits – in mucosal cells. Other vaccines are currently only targeting the systemic immune system, but we know from our research that COVID -19 is a mucosal virus, therefore all vaccine developers should also be looking for a vaccine that targets both mucosal and systemic immunity. This is what OraPro- COVID-19 delivers in a single capsule.”

The OraPro-COVID-19 capsules are thermally stable, meaning that they don’t need to be refrigerated unlike most other vaccines. Due to this unique functionality, the capsule can simply be posted in the mail and taken orally by people at home.

“Even the most vulnerable and shielded can benefit without a high risk visit to a healthcare professional. The unique benefit of this vaccine is that it can be self- administered, meaning that once it has been delivered via post, you can simply swallow the capsule. No injections, no needles, no nurse or doctor’s visit, therefore no need for PPE that’s still in such short supply. And no expensive cold-chain storage is required like most other vaccines currently under development,” says Mr Channon.

How does the oral COVID-19 vaccine work?

Dr Jeff Drew, Stabilitech’s founder and chief scientific officer explains how OraPro-COVID-19 works.

“To generate protective immunity, first we insert the Spike-protein DNA from COVID-19, the S-protein cargo, into a non-replicating adenovirus, the viral vector. OraPro’s thermal stability technology is applied and packaged within an acid resistant capsule that protects the vaccine as it passes through the stomach before being dissolved in the gut. Because it is thermally stable, the vaccine is unharmed by the high – 37 degrees centigrade – temperatures in the stomach.”

Clinical trials for this oral COVID-19 vaccine will commence in June. Stabilitech hope to have the vaccine available by the end of the year. However, to reach this goal, the company requires £6 million in funding to finance this next vital stage of development.

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References

The Pharma Letter (2020), “Stabilitech joins COVID-19 vaccine race, but needs funding”, available at:
https://www.thepharmaletter.com/article/stabilitech-joins-race-covid-19-vaccine-race-but-needs-funding

Stabilitech (2020), “OraPro-COVID-19”, available at:
<https://www.stabilitech.com/orapro-covid-19/>

European Pharmaceutical Review (2020), “Novel thermally-stable COVID-19 vaccine capsule developed”, available at:
<https://www.europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com/news/115510/novel-thermally-stable-covid-19-vaccine-capsule-developed/>

 

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