Canadian Manufacturing

Entos Pharmaceuticals partners with Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing and Ottawa Hospital Research Institute to manufacture COVID-19 DNA vaccine

BMC and ACTM will collaborate to boost Canada's biotherapeutics manufacturing capacity

February 25, 2021  by CM Staff

Scientist working in the ACTM facility GMP cleanroom (CNW Group/Entos Pharmaceuticals)

EDMONTON, Alta. — Entos Pharmaceuticals (Entos), a biotechnology company, is working with Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing and The Ottawa Hospital’s Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre to manufacture and ready doses of Entos’ made-in-Canada Covigenix VAX-001 vaccine for clinical trials at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology.

Covigenix VAX-001 is a single-dose COVID-19 DNA vaccine that is similar to the recently approved mRNA vaccines but with the important advantages of stability at room temperature for 30 days or in the fridge for a year, and prepared in-vials at a ready-to-use concentration. In preclinical studies, Covigenix VAX-001 induced strong neutralizing antibody and durable T cell immune responses against SARS-CoV-2. Covigenix VAX-001 can be easily transported, stored, and administered for the benefit of Canadians and potentially the world. Entos received CIHR and NRC-IRAP funding for Phase 1 trial manufacturing and is actively seeking funding to advance through Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials.

Rollout of the first generation COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are underway. However, vaccine production needs to continue so enough doses are made to end the pandemic. Investing now in Canada’s biotherapeutic manufacturing capacity could still produce a made-in-Canada COVID-19 vaccine.

“Finding a facility in Canada that could ready our DNA vaccine in vials time for the Phase 1 trials was extremely challenging because the few that we have here are all in high demand right now,” said John Lewis, CEO of Entos Pharmaceuticals, in a prepared statement. “We were thrilled to partner with The Ottawa Hospital’s Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre and benefit from their world-class expertise.”

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BMC has manufactured and readied cell, gene, and viral therapies for clinical trials for over ten years and is now instrumental in doing this for COVID-19 therapies and vaccines, including Entos’ DNA vaccine. BMC also shares its manufacturing and clinical trial expertise with industrial partners and will help ACTM increase its capacity by spring 2021.

“I’m delighted that The Ottawa Hospital’s Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre is helping to fill Canada’s critical needs in COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing,” said Duncan Stewart, executive vice-president of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa. “In addition to the Entos vaccine, we will be manufacturing two other COVID-19 vaccines for clinical trials and we are already manufacturing a cell-based therapy for a COVID-19 trial.”