ImmunityBio, NantKwest Announce First Patient Dosed in Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Second-Generation COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Delivering Both Spike and Nucleocapsid of SARS-CoV-2
ImmunityBio, a privately-held immunotherapy company, and NantKwest, Inc. (NASDAQ: NK), a clinical-stage, natural killer cell-based therapeutics company, today announced that the first patient has been dosed in the Phase 1 clinical trial of hAd5-COVID-19, a novel COVID-19 vaccine candidate that targets the inner nucleocapsid (N) and the outer spike (S) protein, engineered to activate both T cells and antibodies against the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). This is a novel COVID vaccine that uses a second-generation adenovirus that delivers multiple proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 with the potential for long-term immunity through memory T cells. The Phase 1 trial, which is being conducted at the Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California, is currently enrolling healthy adult subjects up to age 55 with the goal of examining the safety and reactogenicity of two doses of the vaccine candidate.
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First patient receives California-based ImmunityBio’s second-generation hAd5 COVID vaccine, delivering both outer S (spike) protein and inner N (nucleocapsid) leading to potential long-term T cell and antibody immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. (Photo: Business Wire)
“Our vaccine candidate, hdA5-COVID-19, targets both the nucleocapsid protein on the interior of the virus particle and the spike protein on the virus’ surface,” said Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman and CEO of ImmunityBio and NantKwest. “We believe this dual targeting is a key advantage that may lead to the stimulation of both T-cell-mediated and antibody-mediated immunity to SARS-CoV-2, which is an important differentiator from other vaccine candidates that only target the spike protein.”
Dr. Soon-Shiong continued, “A successful vaccine may require the stimulation of both T-cell-mediated and antibody-mediated immunity, particularly since studies have shown that patients with SARS-CoV infection have long-term T cell memory to the nucleocapsid protein. We believe that our approach, which is based on many years of experience in cancer research, could provide a robust and effective vaccine that harnesses the full potential of the immune system as an important new tool to combat the coronavirus and we look forward to advancing hAd5-COVID-19, as well as our oral, inhalational and intranasal candidates.”