Ann Arbor’s BlueWillow Biologics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing intranasal vaccines, has partnered with a company in Taiwan to develop a nasal vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The company is working with Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp., a biopharmaceutical company that develops and produces vaccines and biologics. Most COVID-19 vaccines in development are delivered via intramuscular injection.
Research has demonstrated that nasal delivery – often the initial site of infection – can prevent the virus from taking hold in the body.
Preclinical research showed that BlueWillow’s nasal vaccine adjuvant (a substance that enhances the body’s immune response to an antigen) combined with Medigen’s S-2P spike protein (part of the COVID-19 virus used in making vaccines) resulted in an extremely high neutralizing antibody response, as well as a superior immunoglobulin A response in both serum and lung secretion samples in mice compared to intramuscular injection.
“Our partnership with MVC is a tremendous milestone in our plan to develop a nasal vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, and we are buoyed by the preclinical results showing that intranasal vaccination with S-2P-NE-01 holds great promise for both mucosal and serologic immunity to SARS-CoV-2,” says Dr. Chad Costley, CEO of BlueWillow. “Our plan is to rapidly advance S-2P-NE-01 into human clinical trials as we move forward to battle this global pandemic.”
BlueWillow’s vaccine technology uses oil-in-water nanoemulsion adjuvant to enable intranasal vaccines for diseases and intranasal immunotherapy for food allergies. It is in use in the company’s clinical stage anthrax and pandemic flu programs and National Institutes of Health-funded preclinical stage respiratory syncytial virus, herpes simplex viruses, and peanut immunotherapy programs.
When used with intranasal vaccination, the adjuvant elicits both mucosal and systemic immunity. BlueWillow says mucosal immune response is critical in reducing viral nasal colonization and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the world, there is an urgent need to develop a vaccine to fight this global crisis, and we are proud to partner with BlueWillow to create an intranasal vaccination that has the potential to save human lives,” says Charles Chen, CEO of Medigen. “While there has been a lot of movement in the development of vaccines, research continues to show the vast benefits of an intranasal vaccination, and we look forward to the ongoing clinical development of our product candidate.”