Arcticus Therapeutics is co-developing a vaccine candidate for Kovid-19, called ARCT-021, in collaboration with Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore.
Jakub Porzi | Nurphoto | Getty Images
Singapore – A Kovid-19 vaccine candidate co-developed by Singaporean scientists has shown positive interim results and may be available by 2021.
This is according to the American biopharmaceutical firm Arcturus Therapeutics, which is working with scientists from Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore to develop the vaccine.
Earlier this month, Arcturus announced positive interim clinical study results from an ongoing Phase 1/2 study of its vaccine candidate ARCT-021.
“One of the unique benefits of the Arcturus vaccine is that it is a low-dose vaccine, estimated to be 7.5 micrograms, which is a much smaller dose than other vaccine possibilities currently being evaluated,” Joseph Payne, President The CEO of Arcturus Therapeutics told CNBC in an interview two weeks ago.
He highlighted that this could potentially lead to higher doses in each manufacturing run, saving time and money.
The vaccine is vaccine to track in early 2021, Arcturus said in a press release.
Benefits of vaccine
Arcturus’ vaccine messenger uses RNA (mRNA) technology – a novel approach to vaccines that scientists hope will trigger the immune system to fight the virus. It is the same method used by the high-profile vaccine prospects of other US pharmaceutical companies Modern and Pfizer.
Arcturus vaccine may be given as a single or multiple-dose form.
Other vaccine candidates from both Pfizer and Modern require two doses to be effective.
“We believe that our vaccine candidate can be an important contributor to controlling the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Arcturus Chief Development Officer Steve Hughes in the release. “In the coming weeks, we look forward to completing our discussions with regulatory authorities and we are working diligently to move the ARCT-021 into later stage studies.”
Clinical trials from july
San Diego-based pharmaceutical firms and Duke-NUS Medical School had to go ahead for clinical trials in July 2020. They went ahead with 106 participants between the ages of 21–80.
According to the biopharmaceutical firm, as of 9 November, 78 of those participants received at least one injection, while 36 subjects received two injections – or a major boost. Prime boost vaccination involves a person receiving multiple doses of the same vaccine.
Of the remaining participants, 28 received a placebo dose. A placebo is a drug given to a group in clinical trials in place of an investigative vaccine, so that researchers can measure and compare how the two groups respond.
The CEO said that no serious adverse effects have been reported so far in the trials.
Payne told CNBC that 77 of the 78 participants developed positive results, which puts the test on track for implementation of Phase 3.
Early 2021 delivery
The Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) has so far paid nearly $ 220 million for the Arcticas vaccine.
The government agency has invested $ 45 million to support the manufacturing process of the ARCT-021 vaccine. The city-state has paid an additional $ 175 million in vaccine limits when ready.
Other countries are also negotiating with Arcticus for possible vaccine purchases, including Israel, which has a $ 275 million purchase agreement.
Payne said shipments are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021. “Our manufacturing horizon is very promising. We are in very good shape.” “We have a manufacturing process that is robust and scalable.”
Currently, Arcturus is working with regulatory agencies for approval, and will manufacture the vaccine in both the US and Europe when it is approved. Recipharm, the leading pharmaceutical manufacturing organization to manufacture the vaccine, has recently come on board.
Importance of solidarity in vaccine trials
With several global Kovid-19 vaccine trials, Payne emphasized the importance of advancing science for the greater good.
“I’m definitely making other mRNA companies happy,” Payne said. “I want them to succeed, not only to help, but to advance science with this new state-of-the-art mRNA vaccine technology.”
“If there is a silver layer with this epidemic, it is the amount of capital that is provided and focused on innovation and science and research development. And it will generate some progress in the field.”