Progress towards a nasal vaccine
American biotech CyanVac has chosen the Charleroi-based subsidiary of Univercells to produce a new single-dose vaccine against coronavirus, to be administered nasally.
Exothera is a subsidiary of Univercells created in 2020 as a "CDMO", i.e. a sub-contracting company that develops and produces pharmaceutical products for other laboratories. Located near Charleroi airport, it already has more than seventy employees and is continuing its development with the installation of a second production site in less than a year.
The Charleroi company will be responsible for the accelerated development and manufacture of this vaccine candidate, for which the American company CyanVac plans to start clinical trials in the coming months. Pre-clinical studies have already shown that this vaccine is immunogenic against coronavirus.
In addition to being administered nasally in a single dose, this new vaccine is also unique in that it is not based on adenoviruses like most of the vaccines currently on the market. It is based on viral vectors, which are new biological tools used to introduce genetic information into a patient's cells.
It is expected that the Belgian company will produce millions of doses of this brand new type of vaccine in the near future.
Univercells and Exothera are also developing another coronavirus vaccine through an alliance with Italy's ReiThera and Germany's Leukocare.