Scion joins Covid-19 Vaccine Corporation’s effort to make New Zealand’s own Covid-19 vaccine via unique local technology

16 September 2020

Auckland: Scion has partnered with New Zealand’s most experienced group of vaccine producers in the effort to produce a Covid-19 vaccine in New Zealand, for New Zealanders and the world.  

Scion’s biotechnology pilot plant is critical to Covid-19 Vaccine Corporation’s vaccine development. The facility will allow CVC to grow its vaccine-producing bacteria at scale, making vaccine materials for testing purposes.  

“Working with Scion will allow CVC to accelerate development and put us on a fast-track towards manufacturing and testing our Covid-19 vaccine. We really appreciate how Dr Lloyd-Jones’ team and Scion have moved to expedite our work; it’s another example of Kiwis pulling together and doing what they can to fight this dangerous disease,” says CVC’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Andy Herbert.   

CVC’s intended vaccine differs from other vaccine candidates for its unique biobead technology that it licensed from New Zealand company, Polybatics. It is currently working towards making small volumes of these vaccine-producing bacteria at the University of Auckland.  

Its method includes making biobeads coated with carefully chosen components of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. The biobeads and coating are simultaneously manufactured inside bacteria which is an efficient method of production for a vaccine that the company expects to be both safe while offering broad immune coverage in humans.  

These biobeads are grown at scale and purified at Scion’s specialised facility, where they will be produced as a test vaccine suitable for various testing purposes.   

“Scion is delighted to assist in the development of CVC’s COVID-19 vaccine. With our fermentation capability and expertise in producing customised biopolymers, the Scion team will be able to produce vaccine materials for preclinical testing.”  

“Scion has experience in producing bioplastic materials that are the main component of Polybatics’ biobeads technology that CVC is adapting for vaccine production,” says Dr Gareth Lloyd-Jones, Science Leader Biotransformation at Scion.  

If testing is successful, CVC will manufacture more biobead vaccines for human trials using Good Manufacturing Practice, which requires stringent and traceable protocols.  

CVC’s partners include the University of Auckland, Fonterra, Callaghan Innovation, Ardigen, and now Scion.  

ABOUT CVC  

CVC is made up of a group of lifelong biotech experts:  

  • Dr Robert Feldman - a serial biotech entrepreneur and medical doctor with vaccine experience.
  • Dr Andy Herbert - a pharmaceutical development and manufacturing expert.
  • Tara Creaven-Capasso - a regulatory, quality and biotech expert with extensive international experience.
  • Helen Teale - a global clinical trial management expert.
  • Jeff Douglas – Managing director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals.  

To date, the company has raised a million dollars in private company funding, and $488,000 in government funding.