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Biotech and academia collaborate on intranasal COVID-19 vaccine development

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will run the pre-clinical trials of Altimmune’s intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AdCOVID.

man using a nasal spray being observed by a researcher/doctor in a lab coat, making notes on a clipboard

Altimmune, Inc. and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), US, will collaborate on the development of a single-dose, intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, called AdCOVID.

Altimmune’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate is currently preparing for immunogenicity studies and manufacture of Phase I clinical trial material. According to the biotech company, they will work with UAB investigators to get the vaccine through pre-clinical immunogenicity studies with the goal of beginning Phase I human trials in the third quarter of 2020.

The enterprise has developed several other intranasal vaccines for respiratory pathogens, including their lead candidate, NasoVAX – a seasonal and pandemic vaccine candidate currently in Phase II trials. It has also developed NasoShield for protection against inhaled anthrax.

“It is critical that the biotechnology industry and academic institutions work together to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and UAB is an ideal partner to support us in this effort,” said Dr Vipin Garg, President and Chief Executive Officer of Altimmune. “UAB has an impressive track record of cutting-edge research in virology and immunology, as well as in the clinical development of vaccines. We are excited to collaborate with UAB in our efforts and look forward to addressing this crisis together.”

Six UAB labs will collaborate with the corporation to perform the pre-clinical trials. Frances Lund, the Charles H. McCauley Professor and Chair for the UAB Department of Microbiology said: “This project will be our highest priority for the next few months as the goal is to get the data to Altimmune as rapidly as possible, so that they will use the information gained from the pre-clinical study to design their clinical trial in people.”

AdCOVID is a single-dose, intranasal vaccine candidate designed to protect against COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The vaccine is based on the company’s proprietary intranasal vaccine technology, which has been shown to activate multiple arms of the immune system and be safe in Phase II trials. The Phase II NasoVAX trial showed potent stimulation of mucosal and cellular immune responses in addition to a strong serum antibody response

The enterprise concluded that the intranasal route of administration and excellent stability profile, may allow for efficient and inexpensive distribution of a vaccine.

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