Nantkwest Inc (NASDAQ:NK) and ImmunityBio have announced that they have entered into a joint agreement to work together on the development, manufacturing, and marketing of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The announcement comes on the heels of ImmunoBio’s appointment into a recently launched program called Warp Speed, which will focus on the development and timely rollout of vaccines to Americans by January next year. The program is currently focused on the creation of vaccines that will address the coronavirus pandemic. The collaborative agreement with NantKwest, therefore, comes at an opportune time and will help ImmunoBio achieve more efficiency.
“ImmunityBio is honored to have been selected as one of the 14 companies for Operation Warp Speed and is committed to moving our vaccine candidate through the process to prevent people from contracting this deadly virus,” stated immunityBio’s CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong.
The combined efforts will focus heavily on the largescale production of ImmunityBio’s coronavirus vaccine candidate dubbed the human adenovirus vaccine (hAd5). There is a lot of excitement behind the development of this vaccine. It is the first vaccine of its kind because it is designed to deliver Nucleocapsid (N) and Spike (S) DNA. This increases the patient’s chances of developing immunity that will last for long against the vaccine.
The two biopharmaceuticals also revealed that they received the FDA’s approval to use ImmunityBio’s IL-15 as a treatment against severe illness. The mechanism for the drug activates natural killer cells, which prevent the virus from hijacking body cells to replicate itself.
NantKwest announced roughly two weeks ago that it received the FDA’s green light to conduct a study on mesenchymal stem cell treatments and regulate the immune system’s reaction to the coronavirus. If the company can manage to achieve this with the mesenchymal stem cells, it would potentially reduce the fatal impact of COVID-19.
ImmunityBio and NantKwest have signed a binding agreement that will support their coordinated efforts. This will allow the two companies to develop, mass-produce, and market the vaccines and therapies to combat the coronavirus.