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Icosavax posts COVID-19 vaccine knowledge ‘beneath our expectations’ as shares plummet greater than 60%

A picture of the nanoparticle with spike proteins utilized in Icosavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate. (Ian Haydon, UW Institute for Protein Design)

Seattle-based vaccine firm Icosavax posted disappointing scientific knowledge immediately for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, sending its inventory right into a dive.

Icosavax went public final June in an IPO that raised greater than $180 million on the promise of vaccine know-how spun out the College of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design. The corporate’s COVID-19 vaccine is a virus-like particle (VLP), a sphere studded with engineered copies of a key viral part, the spike protein.  

Right now the corporate introduced interim outcomes from its ongoing part half of trial of the two-dose shot. Whereas the vaccine was well-tolerated by sufferers and yielded an immune response, “The extent of response was beneath our expectations given what we find out about VLPs, together with from scientific research in COVID-19 and from our personal preclinical knowledge,” mentioned Niranjan Kanesa-thasen, Icosavax chief medical officer, in a press release.

Icosavax shares had been down greater than 60% in morning buying and selling.

Icosavax CEO Adam Simpson. (Icosavax Picture)

“Icosavax stays dedicated to its novel VLP platform and imaginative and prescient for mixture and pan-respiratory vaccines,” mentioned CEO Adam Simpson the assertion. “We plan to research the potential causes of those discordant scientific outcomes, together with manufacture, cargo, and administration of the product.”

The brand new knowledge confirmed that the photographs raised an antibody immune response “akin to or beneath” that of people that had been naturally contaminated with the virus.

In distinction, prior analysis by others signifies that two photographs of an mRNA vaccine produce total extra antibodies than an infection with the virus.

A separate arm of the research used the Icosavax shot as a booster in sufferers who had acquired prior vaccination with an mRNA photographs or one other vaccine. The research checked out antibody responses to the virus and confirmed an eight-fold decreased response to the Omicron variant.

The research knowledge was collected on vaccine with or with out addition of an adjuvant, an immune-boosting substance.

A vaccine with an analogous design based mostly on IPD know-how is being developed by South Korean firm SK Bioscience and GlaxoSmithKline. In that shot, the VLP is mixed with an adjuvant made by GSK. SK Bioscience has performed part three trials of the shot and the South Korean authorities not too long ago introduced it’s going to purchase 10 million doses.

The Icosavax shot is shelf-stable, which had positioned the vaccine as a candidate for simple world distribution. The trial is supported with a $10 million grant from the Invoice & Melinda Gates Basis.

Different vaccines within the Icosavax pipeline use an analogous design. Interim knowledge on the corporate’s respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine is predicted the second quarter of this yr. Icosavax additionally plans to launch a part 1 research with a mixed shot towards RSV and human metapneumovirus.

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