Genexine's Covid-19 vaccine shows promise in primates
The Kosdaq-listed biotech company announced Wednesday crab-eating macaques injected with GX-19, an experimental DNA-based vaccine, developed antibodies that neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the scientific name of the novel coronavirus. Genexine said given the results, "chances of success are high” for the experimental vaccine to be commercialized.
The company created a consortium with international organizations, industries and universities in March to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus. Its partners include the International Vaccine Institute, a Seoul-based vaccine research center under the United Nations Development Programme; Pohang University of Science and Technology; KAIST; and two corporate partners, Busan-based, Kosdaq-listed Binex and Daegu-based, Kosdaq-listed GenNbio.
Genexine began with four vaccine candidates and chose GX-19 as the most promising based on laboratory test results. The company is working with Binex to produce enough volume for clinical trials and plans to submit an application to start the studies with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety within this month.
“If regulatory bodies fast-track approval for the clinical trial on the Covid-19 preventive vaccine, we expect to kick off clinical trials for the DNA-based vaccine GX-19, developed solely with domestic technologies, in June,” said Genexine Chairman Sung Young-chul in a statement.
Genexine is one of dozens of Korean companies in the race to develop Covid-19 treatments and vaccines. They have been backed by the government since the outbreak, with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety developing a support program for companies and research efforts into treatment options and vaccines.
If the ministry grants approval for Genexine to start human trials, the company will be the first in Korea to advance to this stage.
Celltrion, one of the big names in the race, is hoping to start clinical trials on its vaccine candidate in July after completing initial development and efficacy and toxicity testing on animals. SK Bioscience is planning to start clinical trials for its vaccine as early as September.
BY KO JUN-TAE [firstname.lastname@example.org]