Galway’s Aerogen helps develop inhaled Covid-19 vaccine

14 Nov 2022

The aerosolised vaccine is directly inhaled using a cup dispenser into the patient’s airway. Image: CanSinoBio

CanSinoBio said its inhaled vaccine uses a smaller dose, making it more cost effective to vaccinate a larger number of people worldwide.

Galway medtech Aerogen has partnered with a Chinese pharma company to develop an inhaled Covid-19 vaccine.

Aerogen’s aerosol drug delivery technology is being used by CanSinoBio to provide a more effective method of delivering its Convidecia vaccine. The companies have entered into a development and commercial supply partnership.

The inhaled vaccine – called Convidecia Air – was granted emergency use authorisation as a booster dose earlier this year in China. In October, Shanghai became the first city to initiate booster vaccination by inhalation for adults.

The aerosolised vaccine is directly inhaled into the patient’s airway using a cup dispenser. This mimics the natural infection pathway of Covid-19.

The companies said that the inhaled version of Convidecia can be administered effectively using a considerably smaller vaccine dose. This means more patients can cost effectively access the CanSinoBio vaccine than would have been possible using an injectable approach.

“The world has an urgent need for an effective, low-cost, globally scalable and globally accessible solution to mass vaccination,” Aerogen CEO John Power said.

“The pioneering development undertaken by Aerogen and CanSino has resulted in a system that meets all these requirements and with the capacity to vaccinate in the billions.

“We are delighted with the news of approval and public roll-out in China and look forward to further approval of inhaled vaccines around the world.”

The two companies said clinical trials of the inhaled vaccine are progressing in both Asia and Latin America. CanSanBio said its vaccine received emergency use approval last week in Morocco.

“This significant breakthrough in vaccination has the potential of blocking transmission through an added layer of mucosal immunity,” said CanSinoBio chair and CEO Dr Xuefeng Yu. “We look forward to expanding global access to our innovative needleless vaccine to accelerate the pace of bringing society back to life.”

Aerogen focuses on acute care aerosol drug delivery and its tech has been used to treat more than 16m patients in 75 countries. In 2020, it was named Medtech Company of the Year at the Irish Medtech Awards.

In 2019, the Galway company was one of 16 projects backed in the second round of the Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. Working with Omnispirant, it received €9.4m in funding to develop bioengineered exosome therapeutics for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy said Aerogen has an exceptional track record in delivering “game-changing disruptive technology” to medtech and pharma companies worldwide.

“Today’s announcement [of the CanSinoBio partnership] is hugely significant and further strengthens Ireland’s position in the global value chain of vaccine development and manufacturing,” Clancy added.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Aerogen as it continues to transform product offering for healthcare through innovation, underpinning the company’s continued growth in world markets.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic