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Canadian firm teams with OSU on vaccine

Special to the Legal News

Published: November 5, 2020

The Ohio State University has partnered with a Vancouver-based biotechnology firm to further expand the company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which is in pre-clinical development, a recent announcement week detailed.
BioVaxys Technology Corp. officials said the collaboration will focus on the study of neutralizing antibodies generated against live virus by BioVaxys’ candidate, BVX-0320.
Recent interim results from its ongoing pre-clinical study of BXV-0320 showed a good emerging tolerability profile with no observed side effects or noteworthy clinical observations, researchers noted.
The research collaboration is led by virologists and immunologists, Ohio State Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences distinguished professor Linda Saif and associate professor Qiuhong Wang.
Both researchers are part of the university’s Food Animal Health Research Program at the college’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Saif was a lead consultant to the World Health Organization during the 2003 SARS outbreak and her laboratory is a WHO International Reference Lab for Animal coronaviruses in the SARS/NIH BEI network, according to a press release.
She had spreviously assisted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to better understand SARS to prevent or control future pandemic threats.
Wang’s research focus is on coronaviruses, including diagnosis of viral infections, molecular epidemiology, molecular characterization of new viruses, propagation of enteric viruses in cell culture, molecular mechanisms of cell culture adaptation and attenuation, interspecies transmission of viruses between human and animals, and the development of attenuated vaccines using reverse genetics approaches.
“Neutralizing antibodies against live (COVID-19) are functional antibodies that neutralize virus infectivity by preventing virus infection of host cells,” Wang said in prepared remarks. “The generation of neutralizing antibodies after vaccination is a critical indicator of protective immunity.”
BioVaxys President and COO Kenneth Kovan said company officials were excited to being the first research collaboration with Ohio State.
“With their research interests, decades of experience working on coronaviruses and an ability to study live (COVID-19) virus in a Level 3 biological containment laboratory, Dr. Saif and Dr. Wang have the extensive knowledge in the virology, and specifically the SARS-2 fields, that we can learn from.”
In addition to BXV-0320 for COVID-19, BioVaxys’s pipeline includes BVX-0918A, an IND-stage haptenized cancer cell vaccine for treating late-stage ovarian cancer.
The firm has developed its vaccine technology platforms based on the established immunological concept that modifying proteins with simple chemicals called haptens makes them more visible to the immune system, the press release continued.
The process of haptenization teaches a patient’s immune system to recognize and make target proteins more visible as foreign, thereby stimulating an immune response.
BioVaxys antiviral approach entails haptenizing those COVID-19 viral proteins that are critical to the ability of the virus to bind to and enter human cells.
The Canadian firm has two issued U.S. patents and two patent applications related to its cancer vaccine and a patent application for its COVID-19 technologys.
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