North Carolina-based biopharmaceutical company Heat Biologics (NASDAQ: HTBX) has announced that their COVID-19 vaccine will be produced in collaboration with Waisman Biomanufacturing, a biologics and cell therapy manufacturer associated with the University of Wisconsin.
Chief Executive Officer of Heat Biologics Jeff Wolf stated, “We continue to advance our COVID-19 vaccine and are pleased to be working with Waisman to assist our manufacturing efforts. We remain encouraged by the potential of our platform to provide broad protection against COVID-19, particularly for elderly patients and those with underlying health conditions that have an increased risk of complications and death from COVID-19.”
“Our confidence is reinforced by numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)-funded mice and primate trials utilizing our gp96 platform to generate vaccines against SIV/HIV, malaria, zika and other infectious diseases. These trials have demonstrated gp96 is a powerful platform with antiviral activity in the lungs, as evidenced by a potent immune response and effectiveness in the induction of mucosal immunity in several infectious disease models,” Mr. Wolf continued.
Managing Director of Waisman Biomanufacturing Carl Ross stated, “We are honored to partner with Heat again on the development of this very unique COVID-19 approach. We believe our unique capabilities and expertise, as well as the experience that we gained working with Heat to manufacture their HS-130, which is based upon the same gp96 platform, will help further the manufacturing timeline for this potentially life-saving COVID-19 vaccine.”
Waisman Biomanufacturing previously produced HS-130, Heat Biologic’s cell therapy engineered to express the ligand of the OX40 receptor, a pro-inflammatory cell surface protein that stimulates the anti-cancer response of T lymphocytes. HS-130 is currently being evaluated for the treatment of solid tumors in a phase 1 human clinical trial.
Heat Biologic’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is being developed in collaboration with scientists at the University of Miami, is intended to induce both a T cell and neutralizing antibody response against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Multiple COVID-19 vaccines are currently under development including Novavax’s candidate NVX-CoV-2373, which recently advanced to Phase 1/2 human clinical trials.