Dr. Jan Groen, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Intravacc
Dr. Jan Groen, CEO and Chairman of the BoardAccording to WHO, a total of 213 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide as of August, 2021. And as these numbers continue to rise, pharma companies are looking for more efficient modes of delivering COVID-19 vaccines.

This goal is now putting a spotlight on intranasal vaccines. Some experts argue that intranasal vaccines may do a better job at tackling the SARS-CoV-2 in contrast to injectable vaccines. “Since the nasopharynx is the primary entry point for SARS-CoV-2 virus, targeting the nasal cavity can be one of the best lines of defence for vaccines,” opines Dr Jan Groen, one of the reputed thought leaders in the field of vaccine development. Another clear benefit of intranasal vaccines is that they can induce both mucosal (protection at the site of infection) as well as systemic immunity (protection of the human body as a whole). With these advantages in mind, Groen’s company—Intravacc (leading contract development and manufacturer of infectious disease and therapeutic vaccines)—has developed an intranasal (or nose-spray) vaccine called Avacc 10. Avacc 10 is a non-infectious protein-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The Avacc 10 vaccine will move towards a combined phase I and II clinical trials shortly after the completion of the toxicity study. It’s a spray of hope for the world.

Meet the Scientific Minds behind Avacc 10

Intravacc, notably, has an extensive track record in developing vaccines for infectious diseases, positioning the company as a leading vaccine biotech company. The core team of Intravacc is known to have assisted a number of government bodies around the world in the past in developing life-saving vaccines for diseases like polio, measles, DPT, Hib, and influenza. “As such, we have been the best-kept secret in the vaccine development field, until now,” quips Groen. After its recent privatisation, Intravacc is now pushing its bounds towards a more commercial future, so that it can support international academic institutions, public health organisations (WHO, BMGF), and pharmaceutical companies to take their vaccines to late-stage clinical trials. And at the heart of these efforts lie three proprietary platforms—cell-based, OMV-based, and the conjugation platform–developed by Intravacc. These platforms are taking the mantle in helping reduce the time and cost factors while developing new vaccines. This is very good news for all clients around the globe.

The OMV Platform—the Proven Foundation for Avacc 10

The focus on OMVs (outer membrane vesicles), the spherical particles capable of effectively inducing immunogenic response, is what makes the OMV) platform an innovative vaccine development platform. In addition, OMVs can be combined with immunogenic peptides and/or proteins to drive more adaptive immunity.

Intravacc : Pushing the Envelope of Innovative Vaccine Development

This means that Intravacc’s OMV platform can be optimized to elicit a more potent immune response against any newly introduced antigens similar to the SARS-CoV-2 antigen. Furthermore, the platform ensures high yield and is fully scalable, allowing for fast and efficient modification of antigen composition, either through genetic modification of the bacterial host or by associating antigens to stockpiled carrier OMVs.

In addition to developing its own vaccine candidates, Intravacc also partners with biotech and pharma companies as a CDMO

Having been developed on such an innovative platform, Avacc 10 stands out from other competing vaccine candidates. And a testament to this is the preclinical data that shows Intravacc’s SARS-CoV-2 nose spray vaccine candidate is performing better than other contemporaries and this is, to say the least, exciting. Groen also adds that according to different studies, OMVs are safe to use in children. This means that physicians can thus vaccinate the younger population with the nose-spray anti-COVID vaccine and block the new variants of SARS-CoV-2 from spreading among children. “Based on this trove of benefits with Avacc 10, we are using our OMV platform not just for the development of anti-COVID vaccines but many other preventive and therapeutic vaccines,” highlights Groen.

Intravacc as a CDMO Partner for Pharma Companies

In addition to developing its own vaccine candidates, Intravacc also partners with biotech and pharma companies as a CDMO. Intravacc uses its vaccinology knowledge to help these companies avoid dead-ends or expensive setbacks, and steer them in the right direction for reaching their vaccine development goals.

“We are a one-stop-shop for high-quality vaccine development, from lead to early-stage clinical trials,” adds Groen. Intravacc offers everything from R&D to GMP production of preventive and therapeutic vaccines for its client’s phase I/II clinical trials. Intravacc also offers all its proprietary platforms to the clients under a non-exclusive agreement once they decide to partner with Intravacc for the development of a new vaccine. This means Intravacc’s clients can use tried-and-tested vaccine development techniques and assays for new vaccines that only require minor optimisation. “By bridging the gaps between universities, small biotech, and pharma companies, we help our clients scale up a concept vaccine and make it ready for its large scale production,” comments Groen.

Moving ahead, Intravacc is now poised to partner with more biotech and pharma companies and follow an exponential growth curve. Intravacc has already signed a letter of intent with Bilthoven Biologicals, Poonawalla Science Park, Utrecht Science Park (USP), and Alt Foundation to develop a Multi-Purpose Vaccine Production Plant (MPVPP) that will offer a ‘pilot light function’ to kick-off more streamlined vaccine development in pandemic situations. Intravacc has also partnered with cancer immunotherapies developer, CimCure, to gain access to its iBoost oncology technology. In addition to these partnerships, Intravacc is looking to advance its Avacc 10 nose-spray vaccine through the remaining trial stages and bring the much-needed vaccine to the market in the shortest possible time. “With these all-around efforts, we are laser-focused to create a safer and healthier future for the world,” concludes Groen.