20Med Therapeutics and CEPI Sign Agreement to Advance ThermoStable Vaccines Technology
20Med Therapeutics, a leader in non-viral delivery of genetic vaccines using polymeric nanoparticles, and CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, have announced a partnership to advance the development of 20Med’s bioresponsive polymeric nanoparticle technology, which could help end the need for frozen storage of mRNA vaccines. In the near-term, CEPI will provide up to USD850,000 to develop a proof-of-concept for 20Med’s nanoparticle platform in the first part of the project, as well as for preclinical studies to assess whether the technology can deliver mRNA vaccines as effectively as the currently approved technology used for mRNA delivery, known as lipid nanoparticles.
Overcoming the need for frozen storage of mRNA vaccines
20Med’s bioresponsive polymeric nanoparticle technology is designed to overcome this challenge by protecting the mRNA against degradation, removing the need for frozen storage altogether while enabling efficient entry of the mRNA into cells. It does this by binding the mRNA to large-chain molecules, known as polymers, which protect the mRNA from degradation caused by heat or other stresses. Once the polymer-encased mRNA makes its way into the target cells, the protective polymers are selectively degraded leaving only the mRNA.
“Thermostability is one of the potential benefits our differentiated RNA and DNA vaccine delivery platform can provide thanks to our proprietary polymeric nanoparticles. We are looking forward to collaborating with CEPI in bringing this particular feature of our platform to bear in an area of significant medical need and help overcome the limitations of LNP-based delivery. The financial support by CEPI will further strengthen our ability to advance our vaccine platform towards clinical application in infectious diseases,” commented Michiel Lodder, Ph.D., CEO of 20Med Therapeutics.
“Equitable access underpins CEPI’s mission, that’s why we’re investing in new vaccine technologies that can better withstand heat exposure and can be more easily stored and delivered to populations who may be living in regions where cold-chain networks are not as well developed,” said Anand Ekambaram, Executive Director Manufacturing and Supply Chain. “CEPI has an open call for proposals to improve the thermostability of vaccines against known epidemic and pandemic diseases, and we encourage innovator companies and scientific institutions to apply so that we, together, can improve access in future global vaccination campaigns.”
This project is the second to be announced as part of CEPI’s January 2022 call for proposals, aimed at improving thermostability of — and thereby improving equitable access to — a variety of new vaccine platforms. This call forms part of CEPI’s wider strategic goal of harnessing innovative technologies to improve the speed, scale and access of vaccine development and manufacturing in response to epidemic and pandemic threats.
Enabling equitable access to vaccines
CEPI and 20Med are committed to enabling global equitable access to the vaccines they develop. Under the terms of the funding agreement, 20Med has committed to achieving equitable access to the outputs of this project, including ensuring supply for low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), production of vaccine volumes required to meet public health needs, with affordable pricing, and the potential technology transfer to LMIC manufacturers in line with CEPI’s Equitable Access Policy.
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