August 31, 2020
Gaithersburg, MD – VLP Therapeutics announced today that VLP Therapeutics Japan (VLPTJ), a wholly owned subsidiary of VLP Therapeutics, has been selected to receive Japanese government funding through the AMED Fund for the development of a vaccine against the new coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19)”.
VLPTJ applied for this funding in response to an AMED request for proposals entitled, “Vaccine development against novel coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19)” (second public selection). VLPTJ applied as a representative R&D institute, jointly with the National Center for Global Health and Medicine; the National Institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition; the National University Corporation Oita University; and the University Public Corporation Osaka Osaka City University.
Our vaccine development program is focused on the newly emerged coronavirus disease (COVID-19) using a self-amplifying RNA vector technology. The self-amplifying RNA (replicon) vaccine is based on our proprietary platform technology which has a unique vaccine design, and is intended as a second-generation product which we believe will combine a high degree of safety with efficient induction of protective immunity. This vaccine has been shown to induce virus neutralizing antibodies in animal studies within two weeks of vaccination.
“The AMED Fund’s commitment is an important step for the further validation of our platform, and development of our vaccine technology that could also serve as a rapid means to develop vaccines for other emerging viruses in the future. We are grateful for AMED‘s strong support for this vaccine and for for the improvement of global public health. The support and collaboration of AMED as well as our other partners in this program, will enable a very rapid development of this vaccine against the new coronavirus infection.”, says Dr. Wataru Akahata, CEO of VLP Therapeutics.
VLP Therapeutics was established in 2013 with a mission to create next-generation vaccines through the application of its virus-like particle platforms and self-amplifying RNA vaccine vectors. Products developed by VLP Therapeutics using these platforms have proven to be safe, immunogenic, and efficacious in multiple animal models for infectious disease and cancer. The company is currently carrying out clinical trials with a vaccine for malaria, and is manufacturing a quadrivalent vaccine for dengue. VLP Therapeutics is collaborating with Stanford University and the University of California at San Diego to further develop products for cancer therapy.
Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)
Medical R&D in Japan was seen as suffering from the problems of lacking a system that provides sufficiently seamless funding, from basic research to practical application, and lacking a system that adequately implements clinical studies / trials, causing discovery of new drugs to take too long. In order to deal with these issues, the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development aims to act as a ‘control tower’ that directs integrated research, from basic research to practical application. And since Japan is projected to become the world’s first ultra-aging society, AMED aims to achieve the world’s healthiest and longest-living people by creating the world’s most advanced medical technologies and services, and also aims to become a pillar of Japan’s economy by fostering medicine, drugs, and medical devices as strategic industries.
Coronaviruses are a large family of RNA viruses which cause disease in many animal species as well as humans . Several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections in humans ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus shown to cause serious disease in man is COVID-19. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, apparently emerging from bat populations. COVID-19 is now a global pandemic affecting many countries globally.