Candidate: Vaccine to prevent SARS-CoV-2

Category: ANTIVIRAL

Type: Vaccine based on an approach using epitopes that are modified to induce strong and sustained CD8 immune responses. The company says it is applying its expertise in the selection and optimization of disease-relevant peptides and using its established Memopi® neo-epitope optimization technology to increase the memory immune response of T lymphocytes against specific antigens.

Status: OSE Immunotherapeutics said July 16 it will receive a grant of up to €200,000 ($228,500) from Nantes Metropole, the regional authority for the Nantes metropolitan area, toward developing a prophylactic vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. The funding was awarded as part of the Metropolitan Fund to Support Health Innovations Linked to the COVID-19 Health Crisis, a €1 million ($1.1 million) fund created by Nantes Metropole for health innovations to address the COVID-19 health crisis.

OSE said it expects the first preclinical results confirming vaccine protection during this summer. Based on positive preclinical results, the first clinical trial could launch at year’s end, CEO Alexis Peyroles said.

In May, OSE said it was actively working on a vaccine that will leverage its expertise in the selection and optimization of peptides of interest and their GMP formulation for a specific type of combination of multiple peptides.

The company added that its R&D team had screened a large number of peptides derived from different proteins of SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV, before selecting the immuno-dominant epitopes from four major proteins of coronaviruses. To date, more than 20,000 SARS-CoV-2 neo-epitopes and as many peptide / HLA structural models have been evaluated.  The epitopes selected to advance into preclinical testing and efficacy validation were the most specific ones with high potential for immunogenicity, OSE said.

OSE Immunotherapeutics is collaborating with deeptech company MabSilico to apply its artificial intelligence algorithms to accelerate optimization of these neo-epitopes and increase their immunogenicity capacity to induce robust T cell memory immunity.