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Saponin molecules are being developed to provide pandemic vaccines with high efficacy and long-lasting protection.
FREMONT, CA: Agenus, an immuno-oncology company with an extensive pipeline of checkpoint antibodies, cell therapies, adjuvants, and vaccines aimed at activating the immune response to cancers and infections, has launched of SaponiQx, a subsidiary of Agenus dedicated to driving innovation in novel adjuvant discovery and vaccine design, as well as its partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc., the leading horizontal biotechnology company. By making biology easier to engineer, Ginkgo, which recently announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp, enables customers across industries to improve products and manufacturing processes and increase efficiency and sustainability.
“Vaccines are one of the most powerful tools we have to fight pandemics, but ensuring widespread access to efficacious vaccines continues to be a major challenge worldwide,” says Jason Kelly, CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks. “We’re proud that our platform is being used by companies across the vaccine supply chain to develop and manufacture the materials necessary for life-saving vaccines.”
Adjuvants are substances that have been shown to enhance the body's immune response and are a critical component of many currently available vaccines. SaponiQx is developing an innovative adjuvant platform to enable the development of new adjuvants, the secure supply of established adjuvants, the discovery of novel adjuvants, and the development of new, more effective vaccines utilizing optimized vaccines antigen-adjuvant pairings. Ginkgo's expertise in metabolic engineering, enzymatic diversification, and process optimization can be applied to the discovery of novel adjuvants and the improvement of existing manufacturing processes, which can then be used to develop more integrated vaccines.
"Agenus is pleased for SaponiQx to collaborate with Ginkgo Bioworks to develop its novel saponin products from sustainably sourced raw materials, with a goal to meet the current demands placed on the vaccine industry for pandemic vaccines," says Garo Armen, CEO and Chairman of Agenus and Executive Chairman of SaponiQx. "QS21 Stimulon has shown long term efficacy and long-term protection in both commercially launched and experimental vaccines."