APC announces new partnership to help develop Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland

10 Jun 2020

Dr Mark Barrett, CEO of APC. Image: Naoise Culhane Photography

Dublin-based pharma research firm APC is partnering with Australian biotech company Vaxine to help develop a Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

A new partnership may see a promising Covid-19 vaccine candidate be developed here in Ireland. Pharma research company APC announced today (10 June) that it has signed a partnership with Australian biotech company Vaxine.

This partnership aims to accelerate the development and launch of a Covid-19 vaccine using facilities at APC’s Dublin headquarters. The APC site is currently developing more than 20 other medicines for a variety of conditions including cancers, respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s and HIV.

APC employs a team of 130 people, the majority of which are chemical engineers, process and biopharmaceutical scientists.

Adelaide-headquartered Vaxine revealed earlier this year that it has developed one of the first protein-based Covid-19 vaccine candidates to achieve preclinical testing. It combines an insect cell-produced recombinant spike protein antigen with Vaxine’s Advax-SM adjuvant turbocharger. The company said animal immunogenicity studies have confirmed the effectiveness of this combination.

‘An extraordinary unmet demand’

Commenting on this new partnership, APC CEO Dr Mark Barrett said: “Never before has the combination of novel vaccine and processing sciences been so important to the world.

“Today through this strategic partnership, APC and Vaxine signify our collective intent to combine the latest innovation in Covid-19 vaccine technology and processing sciences, BioAchieve, to accelerate the development and launch of Vaxine’s novel Covax-19 vaccine.”

Vaxine’s chair and research director, Nikolai Petrovsky, added: “Following completion of clinical trials, which are currently being initiated, Vaxine wishes to make its Covax-19 vaccine available to as many countries of the world as possible.

“There is an extraordinary unmet demand for effective and safe Covid-19 vaccines. By partnering with professional process development companies such as APC, who can assist with large-scale process and technology design, optimisation and technology transfer, it will assist us in meeting such demand.”

Vaxine said that following human trials and further testing, it hopes to have a commercial launch of a Covid-19 vaccine early next year.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic