Ohio State Innovation Foundation licenses COVID-19 vaccine tech to Biological E

BE will evaluate, further develop, including commercialisation of the vaccine candidate

Hyderabad-based vaccine and pharmaceutical firm Biological E. (BE) and the Ohio State Innovation Foundation (OSIF), USA, on Tuesday announced an exclusive license agreement for a COVID-19 vaccine technology.

Under the agreement, OSIF is licensing novel live attenuated measles virus vectored vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2, which were developed by the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, exclusively to the company.

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BE will be responsible for the evaluation and further development, including commercialisation of the vaccine candidate(s), a release from the company said.

“With this licensing transaction, we have expanded the repertoire of the candidate vaccine(s) that we are evaluating, both in terms of the antigen and the platform technology,” said Narender Dev Mantena, Director of BE subsidiary BioE Holdings Inc., who heads BE’s novel vaccine initiative. This will be the third such partnership for BE. It is already associated in COVID-19 vaccine development with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and Baylor College of Medicine. Clinical trials of the vaccine candidates under the two partnerships are underway.

On the agreement with OSIF, Managing Director of BE, Mahima Datla, said the company has been working to develop a safe and effective vaccine for the COVID-19 and happy to help further this innovation and expand that effort.

The release said the licensed intellectual assets were developed in the laboratories of Jianrong Li and Stefan Niewiesk as a response to the global pandemic. The vaccine candidates are live attenuated recombinant viral vectored vaccines based on measles vaccine strains.

“Translating this vaccine platform into the hands of a global vaccine company for further evaluation and development is a critical step and we are excited that Biological E has taken on this role,” said Patrick Green, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The release said the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) team’s approach utilises the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein as a target protein for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates, generating a series of attenuated recombinant measles viruses (rMeVs) expressing SARS-CoV-2 antigens. All resultant rMeVs, the basis for the vaccine candidates, grow to high virus titer in Vero cells, a WHO-approved cell line for vaccine production.

They were also shown to express the recombinant S antigens, a critical step in developing a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The rMeV-based SARs-CoV-2 vaccine candidates have proceeded through proof-of-concept trials in multiple animal models – demonstrating successful production of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, the release said.

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