VBI Vaccines expands partnership with Canadian government on a vaccine platform

Maryam Farag   

Business Operations Innovation & Technology Government Manufacturing Canada Economy government manufacturer manufacturing Operations

VBI Vaccines Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, has expanded its collaboration with the Government of Canada, supported by a funding contribution from the government’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).

Under the new agreement, the remaining CAD$28 million of funding available under the previously committed CAD$56 million will be directed toward the development of VBI’s proprietary MLE platform, a next-generation version of the Company’s particulate, enveloped virus-like particle (eVLP) vaccine technology that enables the coding of eVLPs using messenger RNA (mRNA).

In preclinical studies, VBI’s MLE candidates generated strong B-cell and T-cell signals compared to those seen with other mRNA vaccines tested. The technology platform also offers potential for streamlined manufacturing timelines, similar to other mRNA vaccines.

“We are grateful for the continued support of our long-term partners in the Canadian government, and are pleased to extend our work together to investigate our novel MLE platform, which we think has the potential to revolutionize particulate vaccines,” said Jeff Baxter, President and CEO of VBI. “This funding will enable us to validate and expand this technology, one that we believe could have broad applicability.”


Additionally, in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada, the partnership will support the development of stable cell lines, using proprietary gene-editing techniques to enable rapid updates depending on viral target, as well as the optimization of manufacturing timelines, processes, and yields sufficient to support late-stage clinical studies. Consistent with the strategic intent of the original agreement, development will primarily focus on platform development and will also include a pan-coronavirus MLE candidate to contribute toward future epidemic and pandemic preparedness.

Standard mRNA vaccines are transported to cells in a lipid nanoparticle, carrying instructions in the form of genetic code that teach the immune system to generate proteins that trigger an immune response to a target antigen. VBI’s MLE approach adds a structural viral protein core – the same protein at the core of VBI’s eVLPs – to an mRNA vaccine. The addition of this protein instructs cells not only to create target antigens, but also to create eVLPs in vivo, which then circulate in the body, provoking the immune system to drive potent B-cell and T-cell responses.


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