French Pharma giant Sanofi Pasteur will investigate two potential novel coronavirus treatments, including one that would be manufactured at their Swiftwater plant in the Pocono region, should clinical trials go well. The company announced last month it would partner with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a vaccine in response to the COVID-19 virus.
The French giant’s vaccines business unit will leverage previous development work for a SARS vaccine which may unlock a fast path forward for developing a COVID-19 vaccine. Sanofi Pasteur will collaborate with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, expanding the company’s ongoing relationship with BARDA.
Because COVID-19 belongs to a family of coronaviruses that can trigger respiratory disease, the SARS vaccine candidate could possibly work with COVID-19 (SARS was a respiratory syndrome that largely disappeared).
Recombinant Technology Platform
Sanofi Pasteur will utilize its recombinant DNA platform to produce a 2019 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate This platform produces an exact genetic match to proteins found on the surface of the virus. The DNA sequence encoding this antigen will be combined into the DNA of the baculovirus expression platform, the basis of the company’s licensed recombinant influenza product, and used to rapidly produce large quantities of the coronavirus antigen, which will be formulated to stimulate the immune system to protect against the virus.
Is Sanofi Pasteur Uniquely Positioned?
During non-clinical studies, the SARS vaccine candidate was immunogenic and afforded partial protection as assessed in animal challenge models. The early development work for this product was accomplished by Protein Sciences (acquired by Sanofi in 2017), offerering the French vaccine maker a head start in expediting a COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, as there is a licensed vaccine based on this platform, this will allow for research and materials to be produced relatively quickly for clinical testing. Sanofi Pasteur’s platform also has the potential to manufacture large quantities of the vaccine candidate.
Long History of Public Health Focus
The BARDA agreement represented another milestone in the firm’s ongoing commitment to help take on public health threats. The firm is open to supporting collective efforts, including the sharing of vaccine research and development experience with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
Sanofi Pasteur’s Swiftwater, PA, site was founded in 1897 and has been active for many years, contributing to the manufacture of various vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur now produces more than 220 million doses of seasonal influenzas vaccine supply and at least 65 million doses of the United States market.