Global biotechnology company Stabilitech, the sister company of Cells4Life, has joined the race to produce a vaccine for COVID-19. In a recent press release that the company will begin raising £6 million in funding to finance the next stage of research. Stabilitech will use the funds for clinical trials and the manufacturing of an oral COVID-19 vaccine.
Currently, there are several potential vaccine candidates for COVID-19 being researched. Stabilitech’s OraPro-COVID-19 is unique as it is the only vaccine which can be taken orally, via a capsule.
There are several advantages to using oral vaccines to protect people from COVID-19. Oral vaccines can be self-administered, which eliminates the risk of the virus being transferred between medical workers and patients. They are also inexpensive to produce and can be sent via mail, which is ideal for large vaccination programs.
Wayne Channon, Cells4Life and Stabilitech chairman, was recently interviewed by The Pharma Letter, a leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology publication. He shared information on COVID-19 and explained the benefits of oral vaccines.
He told the publication: “Delivering a COVID-19 vaccine in the shortest time possible is only half the challenge. Delivering a vaccine that works is more important. COVID-19 infects the mucous membranes, or linings, of the ear, nose throat and lungs. That is why we are targeting our vaccine to hit COVID-19 where it sits – in mucosal cells. Other vaccines are currently only targeting the systemic immune system, but we know from our research that COVID -19 is a mucosal virus, therefore all vaccine developers should also be looking for a vaccine that targets both mucosal and systemic immunity. This is what OraPro- COVID-19 delivers in a single capsule.”
The thermal stability of OraPro-COVID-19 product means it does not need to be refrigerated and can be mailed.
Mr Channon shared more information on this characteristic, telling The Pharma Letter: “Even the most vulnerable and shielded can benefit without a high risk visit to a healthcare professional. The unique benefit of this vaccine is that it can be self- administered, meaning that once it has been delivered via post, you can simply swallow the capsule. No injections, no needles, no nurse, or doctor’s visit, therefore no need for PPE that is still in such short supply. And no expensive cold-chain storage is required like most other vaccines currently under development.”
How does the oral COVID-19 vaccine work?
Stabilitech’s founder and chief scientific officer explained how the OraPro-COVID-19 works: “To generate protective immunity, first we insert the Spike-protein DNA from COVID-19, the S-protein cargo, into a non-replicating adenovirus, the viral vector. OraPro’s thermal stability technology is applied and packaged within an acid resistant capsule that protects the vaccine as it passes through the stomach before being dissolved in the gut. Because it is thermally stable, the vaccine is unharmed by the high – 37 degrees centigrade – temperatures in the stomach.”
Stabilitech is set to commence clinical trials for its oral COVID-19 vaccine in June. The company hopes to have a vaccine available by the end of the year. However, reaching this goal will require additional funding.
The Pharma Letter (2020), “Stabilitech joins COVID-19 vaccine race, but needs funding”,
Stabilitech (2020), “OraPro-COVID-19” https://www.stabilitech.com/orapro-covid-19/
European Pharmaceutical Review (2020), “Novel thermally-stable COVID-19 vaccine capsule developed” https://www.europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com/news/115510/novel-thermally-stable-covid-19-vaccine-capsule-developed/