Codagenix and Serum Institute of India Initiate Co-Development of a Scalable, Live-Attenuated Vaccine Against the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19


FARMINGDALE, N.Y., Feb. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Codagenix, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing prophylactic vaccines and oncolytic virus therapies, today announced a collaboration with the Serum Institute of India, Ltd. to rapidly co-develop a live-attenuated vaccine against the emergent coronavirus. There are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics for this novel coronavirus, now referred to as COVID-19. A live-attenuated vaccine has multiple advantages, including mounting an immune response to multiple antigens of the virus and the ability to scale for mass production.

Codagenix uses viral deoptimization to synthesize "rationally designed," live-attenuated vaccines. Codagenix's technology allows for the rapid generation of multiple vaccine candidates against emerging viruses, starting with only the digital sequence of the viral genome. Thanks to major advances in the speed and quality of genome sequencing in recent years, in addition to open-source data sharing among scientists and public health agencies around the world, the nCoV genome was available to the public in a matter of days after the virus was first isolated. Thanks to the availability of this data, Codagenix has already designed multiple nCoV vaccine candidate genomes using its proprietary deoptimization technology. The vaccine viruses will then be grown and tested in vivo by contracted laboratories suitable for containment, prior to testing in clinical trials. 

The Serum Institute of India, a vaccine manufacturer and distributor with a global footprint, will then scale-up the manufacture of the vaccine to ensure its availability to meet a critical public health need. Codagenix and Serum Institute are pursuing an accelerated development pathway with built-in redundancies to increase speed and likelihood of success.

Dr. Adar Poonwalla, the CEO of Serum Institute, commented, "We are very excited for this new partnership with Codagenix and we hope that we can establish a platform dealing with new infectious diseases and outbreaks beginning with the coronavirus epidemic."

"We are honored to form a collaboration with the Serum Institute, one of the world's leading vaccine manufacturers. With the Serum Institute's financial and technical support, we will be able to push a coronavirus vaccine into the clinic on an extremely rapid timeline. Live-attenuated vaccines like the ones developed by Codagenix are ideally suited to outbreak scenarios as they scale rapidly and generally require only modest amounts of active ingredient for each immunization, as compared to inactivated and subunit vaccines. We are proud to be confronting this public health crisis head-on," said J. Robert Coleman, Ph.D., MBA, CEO of Codagenix.

Glenn Rockman, of Adjuvant Capital, added: "One of the many compelling features of the Codagenix technology is the theoretical ability to rapidly respond to emerging viral threats. We never imagined the Codagenix platform would be tested by a possible pandemic so soon after we invested, but we are nonetheless grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the global nCoV response. The Codagenix team has been working around the clock with our new colleagues at the Serum Institute of India, and both companies are eager to manufacture and test these new vaccine candidates as quickly as possible."

The newly identified coronavirus causes mild to severe respiratory illness, with symptoms including cough and fever. Until an effective vaccine becomes available, transmission of the virus can be prevented by frequent handwashing and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

About Codagenix
Codagenix is a clinical-stage synthetic biology company that uses software to recode the genomes of viruses, constructing live-attenuated vaccines or viruses to prevent viral infections or treat solid tumors. Codagenix's recoded vaccine candidates are a perfect antigenic match to the target virus and induce a robust immune response to all viral antigens. For cancer, our nimble platform allows us to turn a virus into a potential oncolytic immuno-oncology therapy. Both programs rely on scalable, low-cost manufacturing. Codagenix Inc. spun out of the laboratory of National Academy of Science Member Eckard Wimmer at Stony Brook University in 2012. Codagenix is located at the Broad Hollow Bioscience Research Park in Farmingdale, N.Y. Our programs are supported by Adjuvant Capital, TopSpin Partners, Euclidean Capital, and government agencies such as the USDA, NIH/NIAID and the Department of Defense.

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About Adjuvant Capital
Adjuvant is a New York- and San Francisco-based life sciences fund built to accelerate the development of new technologies for the world's most pressing public health challenges. Backed by leading healthcare investors, such as the International Finance Corporation, Novartis and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Adjuvant draws upon its global network of scientists, public health experts, biopharmaceutical industry veterans, and development finance professionals to identify new investment opportunities. Adjuvant invests in companies developing promising new vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices for historically overlooked indications, such as malaria, cholera, Lassa fever and postpartum hemorrhage, with a commitment to make these interventions accessible to those who need them most in low- and middle-income countries.

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About Serum Institute of India
Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally (more than 1.5 billion doses), which includes Polio vaccine as well as Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccines. It is estimated that about 65% of the children in the world receive at least one vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute. Serum Institute of India was founded in 1966 by Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla with the aim of manufacturing life-saving immuno-biologicals, which were in shortage in the country and imported at high prices. Thereafter, several life-saving biologicals were manufactured at prices affordable to the common man and in abundance, with the result that the country was made self-sufficient for Tetanus Anti-toxin and Anti-snake Venom serum, followed by DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis) group of Vaccines and then later on MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) group of vaccines. The Philanthropic philosophy of the company has proliferated to bring down the prices of newer vaccines such as Hepatitis-B vaccine, Combination vaccine etc., so that not only India's, but the entire under-privileged children of the world are protected from birth onwards.

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SOURCE Codagenix, Inc.


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