March 25, 2020 -- A new research collaboration between Dynavax Technologies and Clover Biopharmaceuticals aims to develop a vaccine candidate to prevent COVID-19. The partnership, announced on March 24, will advance Clover's vaccine candidate, COVID-19 S-Trimer, with Dynavax providing its technical expertise and CpG 1018, a proprietary toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist adjuvant.
Using Trimer-Tag technology, Clover began developing the vaccine candidate in late January 2020. The trimer subunit resembles the native trimeric viral spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which is responsible for binding to host cell surface ACE2 and subsequent viral entry. The trimer is produced via a rapid mammalian cell culture-based expression system developed by Clover.
Dynavax's CpG 1018 is an adjuvant used in Heplisav-B, a hepatitis B vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The technology is well-established and has been proven safe, potentially enabling accelerated development and large-scale manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the company.