First EU public-private collaboration for production of saRNA-based vaccines

Ziphius Vaccines – a company developing vaccines and therapeutics based on self-amplifying RNA (saRNA), and UZ Ghent – have announced that they have entered a public-private collaboration.

The link-up involves the scale up and manufacturing of prophylactic self-amplifying RNA vaccines based on GMP (good manufacturing practice) standards.

The collaboration is a first in Europe where a university hospital produces GMP grade prophylactic saRNA vaccines for an industry partner. The partnership fits the Belgian government’s R&D Biopharma initiative where collaboration and coordination are encouraged to accelerate Belgium’s involvement in selected innovative platforms such as mRNA.

Ziphius and UZ Ghent aim to contribute to strengthening Belgium’s position as a leading global biopharma hub and invest in preparedness for future disease threats (Pandemic Preparedness).

Ziphius’ self-amplifying RNA and carrier technology platform is designed to enable efficient, versatile, and rapid responses to health threats. The multi-antigenic platform allows to code for different proteins of interest simultaneously along with a prolonged expression at lower doses and thereby reducing side effects.

Based on positive data, the platform is being leveraged to rapidly expand the Company’s pipeline and move forward multiple development programs, including prophylactic vaccines against infectious diseases and gene supplementation therapies for the treatment of rare genetic disorders.

Professor Dr Bart Vandekerckhove, director of GMP Unit Cell Therapy, explained: “As COVID-19 has hit the healthcare sector hard, we think it is important to facilitate studies for potentially ground-breaking vaccines. In this way, we are laying the groundwork to make these protective vaccines available to a broad group of people.”

“This public-private partnership is an example of how we can create value by working together. We strive for greater speed and excellence through the lab-to-patient journey and this with a better product”, said Chris Cardon, chief executive officer of Ziphius Vaccines. “Being prepared for the future pandemic is not only the Government’s but also our responsibility,” he added.