COVID-19 Vaccine Corporation partners with The University of Queensland

23 February 2021

AUCKLAND: COVID-19 Vaccine Corporation (CVC) has joined forces with the University of Queensland in its vaccine production efforts.

After halting development of its spike protein based candidate in December, CVC continues to progress development of its proprietary T-cell vaccine.

Its T-cell vaccine is designed to work with other existing vaccines in order to improve efficacy, lengthen immunity time and to protect against all new variants for the SARS-Cov-2 virus, including those from Britain and South Africa.

CVC’s efforts and new partnership are particularly timely in the wake of South African government’s attempt to recall a million doses of the Astra-Zeneca-Oxford vaccine candidate due to concerns of its limited efficacy against the country’s local variant of the virus.

CVC is collaborating with the Protein Expression Facility (PEF) at The University of Queensland, who offer exceptional experience and expertise in making peptides and proteins in bacteria. PEF are now working on making two versions of CVC’s T-cell vaccine.

“It is exciting to be working with PEF who are an excellent group with a huge knowledge of microbial expression and fermentation. Their expertise is just what we need at this stage of our development and I look forward to a successful outcome of the collaboration,” says CVC Chief Executive Dr Robert Feldman.

PEF are helping CVC produce a soluble T-cell vaccine antigen as CVC simultaneously progresses its biobead version of the T-cell vaccine, using technology licensed from PolyBatics Ltd.

PEF Strategy and Operations Manager Dr Balaji Somasundaram says producing high-quality proteins is a critical first step for vaccine development. “A suite of protein analytics will verify the quality of the T-cell vaccine antigens,” Dr Somasundaram said.

PEF was founded by Professor Linda Lua to enable researchers and biotechnology companies with innovative solutions for protein production. “We are pleased to support CVC to accelerate the development of its proprietary T-cell vaccine,” says Professor Lua.

CVC intends to test both soluble and biobead versions of its T-cell vaccines head-to-head later this year and progress with the most promising version.

The Protein Expression Facility at The University of Queensland.