Mostafa Prize Winner COVID-19 Vaccine Program Starts Clinical Trials

Saturday, May 9, 2020 - 14:26

The Mainz-based life sciences company Biopharmaceuticals New Technologies (BioNTech) has launched its Phase 1/2 trial of its candidate COVID-19 vaccine, BNT 162.

According to MSTF media reports, immunologist Ugur Sahin, the founder and CEO of BioNTech and the 2019 Mustafa(pbuh) Prize laureate for his outstanding work on the development and clinical testing of mRNA-based cancer vaccines, prepared to combat Coronavirus as the virus broke out in China three months ago.

Germany’s Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) in Langen, approved the trial on April 22. The first doses of BNT 162 were administered to volunteers the next day. Ultimately, around 200 healthy subjects are to be included in the first two testing phases, Research in Germany reports.

Four candidate vaccines are actually being considered. Of these, three include the ingredients uridine containing mRNA (uRNA) or nucleoside modified m RNA (modRNA). The fourth is based on self-amplifying mRNA (saRNA). During the development stage, BioNTech is providing its partner’s clinical supply of the vaccine from its GMP-certified mRNA manufacturing facilities in Europe.

BioNTech and Pfizer are planning to launch trials for BNT162 in the United States upon regulatory approval. BioNTech is also collaborating with Fosun Pharma to develop BNT162 in China, where the German and Chinese companies expect to conduct trials as well. The CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin, said of the efforts, “The speed with which we were able to move from the start of the program to trial initiation speaks to the high level of engagement from everyone involved.”

According to BioNTech, the company specializes in next generation immunotherapy and pioneering novel therapies for cancer and other serious diseases. It says expertise in mRNA vaccine development and in-house manufacturing capabilities allow it to work with partners in developing multiple mRNA vaccine candidates for a range of infectious diseases.

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