Candidate: Vaccine against COVID-19, applicable across other coronaviruses

Type: Pan-coronavirus vaccine coated with the company’s PeptiCRAd technology, and engineered to express coronavirus-associated spike proteins, with HLA-matched peptides optimised to further boost CD8+ T-cell immune responses.

Status: Valo on April 27 announced plans to develop the vaccine, saying its PeptiCRAd technology was rapidly adaptable to the emergence of a new strain or an entirely new coronavirus. The company reasons it would be much faster to manufacture the clinical grade peptides necessary for coating the adenovirus than re-engineering and manufacturing a new virus—an approach Valo said was more flexible and would enable clinical testing to progress quickly should a new coronavirus strain emerge.

While most vaccines focus on boosting the antibody B cells response, Valo also reasons that a T-cell immune response is important given that COVID-19 targets the respiratory tract. Adenoviral vectors can effectively induce T-cell mediated immune responses, Valo said, adding that it hopes the SARS-COV-2 spike proteins can be processed to induce both T-cell and antibody mediated immunity to COVID-19.

By additionally coating the adenovirus with peptides specifically selected for driving CD-8+ T-cells, Valo expects to further enhance the cell mediated immune response, with the added capacity to broaden the immune targets. Boosting cell-mediated immune response in addition to antibody production may be more likely to break through the problem of immune senescence in elderly people at most at risk from COVID-19, the company added.

COVID-19: 200 Candidates and Counting

To navigate through the >200 potential therapeutic and vaccine options for COVID-19, GEN has grouped the candidates into four broad categories based on their developmental and (where applicable) clinical progress:

FRONT RUNNER – the most promising therapeutics/vaccines based on clinical progress, favorable data or both.

DEFINITELY MAYBE – earlier phases with promising partners, or more advanced candidates in development that have generated uneven data.

KEEPING AN EYE ON… – interesting technology, attracting notable partners, or both, but preliminary data.

TOO SOON TO TELL – longshots pending additional experimental and/or clinical data.

GEN has also tagged the most common treatment types: