Biologics contract manufacturing firm iBio Inc. (IBIO:NYSE.Amex) today announced its "progress towards developing vaccine candidates for preventing infection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 coronavirus disease."
The company reported that "it created its SARS-CoV-2 Virus-Like Particle (VLP)-based constructs in just a few weeks using its FastPharming System™ to produce the nanoparticles in, and purify them from, plants." The firm noted that the manufacturing platform is capable of providing rapid development of research quantities of product. In addition the company indicated that high-quality material is readily scalable in order to produce doses for both clinical and commercial use.
According to the report, "the company filed four provisional patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in support of the VLP platform, as well as other technologies for treating or preventing infections with the SARS-CoV-2 virus."
iBio's Co-Chairman and CEO Tom Isett commented, "We are pleased with both the speed of our development activities and the quality of the VLPs our technology is yielding in practice...The tightly controlled particle size allows for uniform antigen display, which should translate to a consistent dose response and a highly efficient production process, facilitating a ramp-up to tens of millions of doses if we are successful in the clinic."
The company advised that its FastPharming Facility was established in 2010 to facilitate rapid delivery of medical countermeasures in response to a disease pandemic. The firm's noted that its factory is equipped with automated hydroponics and vertical farming systems able to produce a wide variety of biological medicines.
Dr. Sylvain Marcel, iBio's VP of Protein Expression Sciences, added, "I am optimistic about the potential of our COVID-19 vaccine program...In addition to our core VLP production capabilities, we are coating VLPs with oligomannose so that their glycosylation profile closely resembles that of naturally occurring SARS-CoV-2 viruses. This may allow for more efficient uptake of the vaccine by human antigen presenting cells via their mannose receptors. If so, it could result in enhanced protection against SARS-CoV-2. We look forward to providing further updates on our progress as developments unfold."
iBio describes itself as "a global leader in plant-based biologics manufacturing that uses its FastPharming System™ which combines vertical farming, automated hydroponics, and glycan engineering technologies to rapidly deliver gram quantities of high-quality monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, bioinks and other proteins."
IBio has a market capitalization of around $86.9 million with approximately 76.2 million shares outstanding and a short interest of about 6.1%. IBIO shares opened nearly 23% higher today at $1.40 (+$0.26, +22.81%) over yesterday's $1.14 closing price. The stock has traded today between $1.38 and 1.88 per share and is currently trading at $1.61 (+$0.47, +45.23%).[NLINSERT]
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