Gritstone advances second-generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

January 19, 2021 -- Gritstone Oncology is advancing the development of a second-generation vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 with potential for both prolonged protection and potency against spike protein mutations.

The company is working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, as part of a clinical trial agreement to initiate clinical testing. A phase I trial is expected to be conducted through the NIAID-supported Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting the preclinical development of the vaccine.

Through a license agreement with the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, Gritstone has access to validated SARS-CoV-2 epitopes. The company is using the epitopes and its proprietary Gritstone Edge and vaccine platform technologies to develop a novel COVID-19 vaccine which contains spike epitopes and additional viral epitopes that are good targets for T-cell immunity. Both self-amplifying messenger RNA (mRNA) and adenoviral vectors will be used to deliver the SARS-CoV-2 viral antigens in the vaccine. The candidate may also have pan-SARS or coronavirus potential to protect against future pandemics.

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