Vaxart Selects Lead COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate, KindredBio a Partner

California-based biotechnology company Vaxart (NASDAQ: VXRT) has announced the selection of its lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate and has contracted American biopharmaceutical company KindredBio Biosciences (NASDAQ: KIN) to manufacture the vaccine at a large scale. KindredBio’s production of the vaccine will complement that of Emergent BioSolutions.

“All our COVID-19 vaccine constructs were highly immunogenic in preclinical testing, and we are taking the candidate forward that is expected to generate the broadest immune response in humans,” chief scientific officer of Vaxart Dr. Sean Tucker, PhD., stated.

“In a phase 2 efficacy study that was recently published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, we have demonstrated that our oral H1 flu tablet vaccine protected against influenza infection after just one dose. Based on these results, we believe our vaccines are ideal to protect against mucosal respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” Dr. Tucker continued.

The COVID-19 vaccine was developed using Vaxart’s VAASTTM oral vaccine platform and is administered via a tablet rather than by injection. After evaluating multiple vaccine candidates preclinical animal models, Vaxart picked a lead candidate “based on the magnitude and the breadth of the immune response.”

Vaxart CEO Dr. Wouter Latour, MD, stated, “We are very pleased to have an experienced partner such as KindredBio to help us meet global demand for our COVID-19 vaccine. The program with Emergent BioSolutions is progressing very well, and we expect KindredBio will add additional capacity to help produce bulk vaccine.”

“An important benefit of our platform is that our vaccines are produced in tablet form and we don’t need the sterile fill and finish that is required for the production of injectable vaccines. Manufacturing of our COVID-19 vaccine is on track to start a first phase 1 study in the second half of this year, possibly as early as the summer,” Dr. Latour continued.

CEO of KindredBio Dr. Richard Chin, MD, stated, “We are proud to be contributing toward the effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. We look forward to working with Vaxart to bring this innovative technology to patients as quickly as possible. This marks an important step in the development of our contract manufacturing business, which has the potential to help fund our promising pipeline.”

“We are pleased to be partnering with Kindred Biosciences in the development of our oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate. We believe our novel approach utilizing a room temperature-stable tablet offers important logistical advantages in widespread oral vaccination, and that KindredBio with its state-of-the-art manufacturing plants is an ideal partner to realize our vision,” stated Dr. Latour.

In addition to Vaxart and KindredBio, companies including Moderna, iBio, Heat Biologics, Dynavax, and Novavax, are also developing a vaccine for COVID-19.