Cytiva, formerly part of GE Healthcare Life Sciences, agreed to collaborate with Takara Bio to manufacture a DNA vaccine candidate for COVID-19. Along with Osaka University and AnGes, Takara Bio is working on a plasmid vaccine to generate the SARS-CoV-2 protein that would become an antigen, and help people develop immunity against the virus.

Ryuichi Morishita, MD, PhD, the professor at Osaka University who designed the plasmid DNA, explains that “Beyond the potential clinical benefit of the vaccine, plasmid DNA allows faster response in case of outbreak of an infectious disease.”  Plasmid DNA can be biomanufactured in large quantities relatively quickly, according to Emmanuel Ligner, president and CEO of Cytiva.

“Speed will make the difference in saving lives,” says Koichi Nakao, president and CEO of Takara Bio. “With the right process design, prioritization of equipment and consumables, we can ramp up clinical production and accelerate the results of a clinical trial.  As a CMO company, we are proud to be contributing to fast delivery of the vaccines and therefore helping defeat the COVID-19 pandemic as early as possible.”

“For Japan and for the world, this is important to move quickly to tackle COVID-19 from diagnostics to therapies, like this potential vaccine,” adds Ligner. “Cytiva’s entire organization is moving swiftly and decisively to respond to such a unique challenge. This work with Takara Bio, Osaka University, and AnGes is a great example of working together to improve access to life-changing therapies.”

DNA vaccines are said to be safely manufactured in a short period of time without using any dangerous pathogens. By injecting circular DNA (plasmid DNA) that encodes the protein of the target pathogen, the pathogen protein is produced in the body and immunity to the pathogen is generated. Unlike attenuated vaccines, it has no pathogenicity.

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