Edmonton company awarded $5M for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Oct 23 2020, 1:49 pm

The National Research Council of Canada has awarded an Edmonton biotechnology company $5 million of federal funding to move its coronavirus vaccine forward to clinical trials.

Entos Pharmaceuticals, with offices in downtown Edmonton and San Diego, has developed a vaccine candidate called Covigenix. It’s a type of DNA vaccine that delivers therapeutic nucleic acids that can help patients directly into the fluid of target cells, according to the company’s website.

In pre-clinical studies, Covigenix has generated a strong antibody response and a balanced white blood cell response to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

“Entos is honoured to be one of the innovative Canadian companies receiving … support,” said John Lewis, Entos’ CEO.

The clinical trial will be conducted at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology in Nova Scotia.

Health Canada approved the first clinical trial for a Canadian vaccine candidate back in May, but that trial involving CanSino Biologics’ product was scrapped over uncertainty that Chinese-headquartered company could ship the vaccine to Canada if it were successful.

Instead, the first Canadian vaccine Candidate to proceed to clinical trial was one developed by Quebec’s Medicago Inc. Those trials begin in the summer.

There are another four Canadian companies and research centres with pre-clinical vaccine candidates, according to the World Health Organization’s list of registered vaccine candidates.¬†They are the¬†University of Alberta, Mediphage Bioceuticals partnering with the University of Waterloo in Ontario,¬†IMV Inc. in Quebec and Nova Scotia, and Immunoprecise in Victoria, BC.

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