Cobra Biologics and the Karolinska Institutet announced that they have been awarded €3million emergency funding by Horizon 2020, a European Union research and innovation program, for research and development and phase I clinical trial testing of a DNA vaccine against COVID-19. The funding and research are part of the OPENCORONA consortium designed to support global efforts to counter the pandemic. Partners in the consortium also include Karolinska University Hospital, Public Health Authority (FoHM), IGEA, Adlego AB and Giessen University.
The OPENCORONA project and the application, ‘Rapid therapy development through Open Coronavirus Vaccine Platform’, was one of the first two to be successfully selected by the European Commission, with 17 applications chosen out of 91, receiving €47.5million in total. The aim of the project is to manufacture a DNA vaccine which will be delivered to patient muscle to generate a viral antigen on which the immune system then reacts. The ‘open’ project will utilize Cobra’s large-scale DNA suite in Sweden to produce the plasmid DNA. The plasmid production will support the vaccine development process in accordance with GMP and with a new kind of ‘open’-ness that will help to speed the fight against COVID-19 by making relevant data and research results available to the wider scientific community. First trials in humans will begin in 2021 and will take place at the Karolinska University Hospital.
Cobra biologics Chief Executive Peter Coleman said the partners within the OPENCORONA consortium are all experts in their fields, with the capabilities to successfully develop the COVID-19 vaccine. He stated Cobra is privileged to have been invited to participate and contribute to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.