Seqirus gains new R&D facility for sa-mRNA influenza vaccine technology

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

February 8, 2022 -- Seqirus, a business of CSL Limited, has invested in a new R&D facility located in Waltham, MA. The new facility will support the company's growing portfolio for influenza prevention, with a focus on a self-amplifying mRNA (sa-mRNA) technology platform.

The facility will serve as the company's central R&D hub for current and future vaccine design, as well as collaborations with stakeholders within the industry and academia. The custom-built facility consists of approximately 140,000 sq ft, including 54,000 sq ft of lab space, and the ability to house about 300 full-time employees.

All ongoing R&D programs currently taking place in Cambridge, MA, will transition to the Waltham facility in the coming months. The new site is expected to be fully operational by mid-2022.

mRNA vaccines help protect against infectious diseases by giving instructions to cells in the body to make a protein, stimulating an immune response, and leaving a blueprint to recognize and fight future infection. However, sa-mRNA instructs the body to replicate the mRNA encoding for the protein, which then amplifies the amount of protein made.

This could enable the development of vaccines that can be more effective with a smaller dosage and with lower rates of reactogenicity. This further supports the inherent value of this technology in both pandemic and seasonal influenza, the company said.

The technology is an important element in Seqirus' R&D pipeline, in addition to the company's adjuvanted, cell-based influenza vaccine candidate Aqivc, which combines Seqirus' proprietary MF59 adjuvant with cell-based influenza technology and is progressing into phase III clinical development.

The new facility will allow Seqirus to accelerate and advance the development of this sa-mRNA technology among others in the company's pipeline.

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