A Basque company is positioned to mass-produce the Harvard vaccine against Covid

A Basque company is positioned to mass-produce the Harvard vaccine against Covid

Viralgen researchers work this Thursday in their laboratory in the Miramón Technology Park. (EFE)

The Donostia company Viralgen Vector Core, specialized in the production of viral vectors for gene therapy, will participate in an ambitious project to create a vaccine against him coronavirus who is developing the Massachusetts General Brigham Hospital (MGB), affiliated with Havard, and what positions you to manufacture mass the vaccine. The Basque firm will be the sole participant from outside the United States in this consortium that leads this prestigious institution for the large-scale creation of immunity against Covid-19, its use in clinical trials and subsequent commercialization.On paper, Viralgen will carry out vaccine production and global escalation of it together with the companies Aldevron, located in North Dakota, and Catalent, based in New Yersey. For this, the San Sebastian company is currently building a second floor in its facilities in the Science and Technology Park of Miramon, with an investment that exceeds 50 million euros, and that will house the production of a vaccine that is planned start testing on humans in the fall.

Viralgen builds a new plant at its Miramón headquarters, with an investment of 50 million, to have the capacity to produce the vaccine on a large scale

The new infrastructure, whose construction has the financial support of the Santander bank and the Basque institutions, will begin to operate in late 2021 turned into “one of the most modern plants in Europe for the production of gene therapy treatments”, which will allow you to have “enough capacity” to produce this vaccine on a large scale, as it puts in value Javier García, CEO of this company founded in 2017. The plant will also have the capacity to “supply the growing gene therapy market, complementing the production for clinical trials” that are already being carried out at the company’s facilities in Miramón, inaugurated in september 2018.

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José PichelDespite the good results presented by the pharmaceutical company, this is only the beginning, and experts believe that a lot of information is missing to know if this project is really solid.

Viralgen’s choice to join this consortium – the experimental vaccine uses Adeno-associated vectors (AAV) to deliver and express the S (spike) gene of the SARS-Cov-2 virus and thus create an immune response – it is based on the fact that the company from San Sebastian “will allow us to start the production of the vaccine with scalable processes and in a volume it can make a difference to solve the problem of massive access to it“As he argues Luk. H. Vandenberghe, director of the Grousbeck Gene Therapy Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear – one of the MGB’s associated entities along with Massachusetts General Hospital – and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and

“Viralgen will allow us to start the production of the vaccine with scalable processes and in a volume that can make a difference to solve the problem of massive access to it”

Viralgen is licensed the Pro10 ™ technology, which “allows the production of large volumes adeno-associated virus in a short time and with the versatility of adapt to variations that may occur with the virus that causes Covid-19. ” It is this “versatility and production capacity” that Pro10 ™ technology offers, and that constitute the “key aspects to achieve the volume necessary to meet the demand for the vaccine” with, in addition, a “affordable” production cost that has an impact “on the ability to reach a greater number of people”, which has led the MGB consortium to choose as partner to the Basque firm. In this way, if its efficacy is demonstrated, the vaccine could be manufactured massively in Guipuzcoa.

At the moment, unknown what volume of vaccines the Donostia company could produce, although, in any case, they would be “million doses”, as revealed by García. “We are the company that has the platform that more scalable is, than more can produce“, he points out in this regard in statements to Efe. In the event that tests determine the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine, he assures that Viralgen is able to scale it “what the market is going to need” with a massive production that could start next year in the current facilities of the company, which would have the capacity to begin this massive production while waiting for the new plant.

A Viralgen Vector Core researcher in his laboratory (EFE)

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A Viralgen Vector Core researcher in his laboratory (EFE)

A Viralgen Vector Core researcher in his laboratory (EFE)

The Basque Government and the Guipúzcoa Provincial Council celebrated this Wednesday with enthusiasm the announcement of the participation of the Donostia company in “a project of such size and significance” “The opportunity to have this production in the Basque Country would mean a first-rate health, social and business advance before which we will continue to be very attentive as an institution ”, highlights the Basque Minister for Economic Development and Infrastructure, Arantxa Tapia. For his part, the provincial deputy for Economic Promotion, Imanol Lasa, highlights that Viralgen has been considered a “key factor” in a project of “magnitude and significance” involving the “discovery of a vaccine against Covid-19, one of the great challenges of humanity during this time”.

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Europa Press

The final results will be evaluated in six months. In any case, more testing is needed to see if the immune response it causes effectively protects against infection.

“It is a challenge exciting”, The CEO of the Donostia firm, who has the support of the Basque institutions and the collaboration of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products, has an impact on this project. “An important aspect of this vaccine is that it uses the experience and development capacity of the industry that has been working for years with adeno-associated vectors (AAV). This knowledge and experience in areas such as production offered by these companies will be of great help to achieve the goal of a vaccine to come to the maximum number of people“he stresses.


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