Local vaccine producer Covid-19 Vaccine Corporation secures more funding for its research

30 March 2021

Auckland: Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand’s innovation agency, has granted the country’s most experienced group of vaccine producers Covid-19 Vaccine Corporation (CVC) up to $395,274.82 towards their efforts to produce a unique New Zealand’s Covid-19 vaccine.

CVC, which is developing the world’s first biobead vaccine using patented New Zealand technology licensed from PolyBatics Ltd., began its research in May 2020. Its Chief Executive Officer Dr Robert Feldman says the T-cell vaccine works differently than other vaccines by using an arm of the body’s immune system called cytotoxic T-cell immunity.

“We’ve made promising progress with our T-cell antigen, which we aim to test in a number of experiments over the next five months. If effective, the vaccine will teach the immune system to recognise just the cells infected with the virus and destroy them, leaving uninfected cells untouched,” says Dr Feldman.

Callaghan Innovation’s project grant will be used to continue developing CVC’s Covid-19 vaccine which is intended to augment and be used alongside existing vaccines currently in the market, in order to increase their efficacy and protect against current and unknown future variants; serving as a type of enhancer.

“It has been particularly challenging applying for a project grant from Callaghan Innovation as our own plans change frequently in the light of ever changing developments in the field of Covid-19. Our forecasted costs literally change from week to week and these changes do not naturally fit into a standard grant application process,’ says CVC’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Robert Feldman.

“The team at Callaghan Innovation have been exceptionally helpful and flexible in working with us to find a way forward to address our unusual situation. The grant will be of enormous help in allowing us to reach our milestones this year in the shortest possible time,” he adds.

Alongside its partnership with Callaghan Innovation and its biotechnology arm in 2020, CVC has strategic partnerships with the University of Queensland, most recently, the University of Auckland, Fonterra, Scion Research, and Ardigen.

To date, the company has raised $4.8 million dollars in private and government funding.