Aeterna Zentaris GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AEterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:AEZS), signed an exclusive accord with Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg. As per the terms of the agreement, Aetrena will evaluate the coronavirus vaccine developed by the University Wuerzburg, the leading university-based in Germany, for the protection against coronavirus.
The typhoid fever vaccine is used as a carrier strain in the vaccine technology developed at University Wuerzburg. It will work as a SARS-CoV-2 LAB (live attenuated bacterial) vaccine for oral administration. Under the terms of the agreement, Aeterna has an option to negotiate for a global license on an exclusive basis for developing this innovative technology for the treatment of coronavirus diseases such as COVID-19.
A road map for an initial clinical study
The university Wuerzburg scheduled a meeting at Paul-Ehrlich Institute to discuss with the German authorities for the initial clinical study involving humans. If it finds sufficient scientific information for advancing into a clinical study, Aeterna will abbreviate the development program for the COVID-19 vaccine. The company is already having clinical safety data for Salmonella Typhi Ty21a, the underlying vaccine.
CEO of Aeterna, Klaus Paulini said the vaccines for coronavirus are already developed. The company plans to improve the vaccine to enhance its effectiveness, less stringent storage requirements, and make it more economical.
Klaus said the company hopes to get more data from this new vaccine trial for an effective and safe administration to protect against coronavirus. The company will contribute its experience and expertise in GMP compliant production and preclinical development of the project.
The professor at The University Wuerzburg, Thomas Rudel said the new vaccine technology is based on the modified live-attenuated Salmonella Typhi Ty21a strain to offer two viral antigens. It provides an option to develop an innovative oral vaccination strategy to protect people from getting coronavirus infection.
Also, incorporating dual antigens in one vaccine prevents the evolution of new variants of coronavirus. The decision of Aeterna to license its technology will help the scientists to expedite clinical development.
Since the beginning of coronavirus, more than 2.2 million deaths are reported across the world and over 102 million diagnosed with COVID-19. The vaccines available in the market provide support preventive immunization only.