Aeterna Zentaris Announces Exclusive License Agreement and Research Contract with Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg for Development of a Potential Oral Prophylactic Bacterial Vaccine Against COVID-19
- Company secures next step to continue to build-out pipeline of assets
- Company exercised its option to enter into an exclusive license of intellectual property for the development of a proprietary and orally active bacterial vaccine platform technology currently undergoing pre-clinical studies for the prevention of coronavirus diseases, including COVID-19
CHARLESTON, S.C., March 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: AEZS) (TSX: AEZS), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Aeterna Zentaris GmbH, (“Aeterna” or the “Company”), a specialty biopharmaceutical company commercializing and developing therapeutics and diagnostic tests, today announced that the Company exercised its option announced on February 2, 2021 and has entered into an exclusive worldwide sub-licensable patent and know-how license agreement for a potential COVID-19 vaccine currently in preclinical development that was invented at the Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg (the “University”), one of Germany’s leading research and teaching universities. Additionally, the Company has entered into a research agreement with the University to conduct supplementary research activities and preclinical development studies on the potential vaccine.
The vaccine technology developed at the University uses the approved typhoid fever vaccine Salmonella Typhi Ty21a as a carrier strain and has the potential to be an orally active, live-attenuated bacterial vaccine to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection leading to COVID-19.
“Over the last months, we learned that the original SARS-CoV-2 strain mutates rapidly, and these mutant strains continue to spread throughout the population. It has been reported that the currently available vaccines for COVID-19 are still effective against the known mutant strains. However, we believe there is the potential to develop an improved vaccine which relies on several SARS-CoV-2 antigens in parallel with the goal of improving the immune response against mutated viruses. Additionally, our vaccine has the potential to become a cost-effective oral alternative with less demanding storage and logistics requirements”, commented Dr. Klaus Paulini, Chief Executive Officer of Aeterna Zentaris. “We look forward to advancing our scientific collaboration with Prof. Rudel and his group at the University. Aeterna plans to select from a set of vaccine candidates to perform further in vitro and in vivo characterization before selecting the most active and stable bacterial strain for further preclinical and potentially clinical development. The goal is to develop an oral dosage form of COVID-19 vaccine which is also active against mutated viruses that can be stored in a common fridge and manufactured with relatively low costs of goods.