WestVac BioPharma Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "WestVac BioPharma") has a mature insect cell expression platform, mRNA vaccine platform, novel adjuvant platform, bacterial vaccine platform, tumor vaccine and immunotherapy platform, with more than 30 pipelines including COVID-19 vaccine, multivalent influenza vaccine, herpes virus vaccine, acne vaccine, tumor immunity preparations.
After the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, with the strong support of governments at all levels, Sichuan University West China Medical Center and WestVac BioPharma took the initiative to participate in the scientific and technological action against COVID-19, and made breakthroughs through more than one year\'s efforts. Affiliated to Sichuan University, West China Medical Center is the largest national medical center in western China. Its State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy is the only laboratory of its kind with the mandate of "Treating Critical Human Disease with Biotechnology". There are over 150 experts with multi-disciplinary background, including 13 Chang Jiang Scholars/Young Chang Jiang Scholars and 18 winners of the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars.
Under the joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of The State Council, Sichuan University and WestVac BioPharma jointly undertook the research and development of Recombinant COVID-19 Vaccine (Sf9 cells), a national key scientific research project. Led by Professor WEI Yuquan, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Director of the State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, and Chairman of WestVac BioPharma, and his team of scientists, the project belongs to one of the five state-funded COVID-19 vaccine development technology routes.
On July 29, 2020, WestVac Biopharma R&D team published the first COVID-19 vaccine research paper in the journal Nature
. They used an innovative recombinant protein technology route for R&D. It\'s China\'s first recombinant subunit COVID-19 vaccines expressed in insect cells. S protein of SARS-CoV-2 was prepared by introducing SARS-CoV-2 genes into insect cells which can induce human body to produce antibodies to block viral infection. Large production of protein has been achieved.
The Phase I and II clinical trials of Coviccine have been completed in June 2021. Currently, Phase III clinical trials are progressing smoothly in Mexico, the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya and other countries, and nearly 40,000 subjects have been enrolled and vaccinated, and required clinical trials have been completed in Japan. It is the first Chinese COVID-19 vaccine that entered clinical trials in a developed country. Primary research results show that the vaccine has good safety and immunogenicity, and can evidently induce neutralizing antibodies against the prototype and variant strains of SARS-CoV-2, which fully reflects the advantages and characteristics of the recombinant protein vaccine technology. Furthermore, using Coviccine as the third dose in sequential vaccination after using existing COVID-19 vaccines on the market significantly increased neutralizing antibody titers against multiple variant strains such as Omicron, Delta and other variants.
WestVac Biopharma is also accelerating the development of the second-generation recombinant COVID-19 vaccine (Sf9 cells) in response to the continuous emergence of mutated strains such as Delta and Omicron strains. The vaccine belongs to the latest fifth generation vaccine technology (fully synthetic vaccine), targeting the S-RBD protein of the COVID-19 mutant strain, the subunit vaccine antigen is precisely designed based on the structure, which can self-assemble into stable nanoparticles. The large-scale production of the vaccine uses internationally advanced insect cell production technology and is combined with oil-in-water emulsion adjuvant (MF59-like adjuvant) that can induce a stronger immune response. The vaccine can induce the production of high titers of neutralizing antibodies upon immunizing animals such as mice or monkeys. The neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant strain can reach a level of ten thousands (it means that the blood is diluted 10,000 times and still has the ability to block the virus from infecting cells). It was previously discovered that the vaccine has a level of ten thousands neutralizing antibodies that completely inhibits Brazilian strains, South African strains, Delta strains and other mutant strains of Euvirus, suggesting that the vaccine is a universal COVID-19 against multiple mutant strains. It is also the first COVID-19 vaccine announced internationally that has high titers of neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron mutant strain. At present, the application materials have been submitted to the National Medical Products Administration in August, 2021, and it is expected to officially enter clinical trials in early 2022.
In order to improve the safety and accessibility of the vaccine, WestVac Biopharma has also developed a nasal spray vaccine against COVID-19 variants, improving efficiency of protection by inducing nasal mucosal immunity. On the basis of the extensive research, the nasal spray type was selected to induce strong immune response. After two immunizations, rabbits can be induced to produce more than one hundred thousand binding antibodies, and there are obvious neutralizing antibodies. Additionally, the company is also in the process of developing the new oral anti-COVID-19 drug
and the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, both of which have been shown to have good in vivo safety and activity.