ARTES joins global combat against Corona

27 April 2020 – ARTES Biotech­nol­o­gy, the Ger­man-based biotech com­pa­ny spe­cial­iz­ing in process devel­op­ment for recom­bi­nant vac­cines, entered devel­op­ment of SARS-CoV-2 vac­cine can­di­dates based on its virus-like par­ti­cle (VLP) based plat­form tech­nolo­gies METAVAX® and Split­Core.

METAVAX® is the company´s plat­form for the devel­op­ment of vac­cines built on enveloped virus-like par­ti­cle nanos­truc­tures (eVLPs) based on the duck Hepati­tis B small sur­face anti­gen. Split­Core is the tech­nol­o­gy where cap­sid virus-like par­ti­cles (cVLPs) are applied as anti­gen pre­sen­ta­tion vehi­cles with­out involve­ment of host lipid mem­brane struc­tures.

The devel­op­ment approach of ARTES is designed to present domains of the spike pro­tein of SARS-CoV-2 – with or with­out an anti­gen derived from the virus´ nucle­o­cap­sid pro­tein – on the sur­face of eVLPs (METAVAX®) and cVLPs (Split­Core).

The bat­tle against the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic will require a lot of dif­fer­ent inno­v­a­tive approach­es. We are con­vinced that our tech­nol­o­gy plat­form can pro­vide on short term an impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion in this glob­al com­bat. The com­pelling advan­tage of our tech­nol­o­gy is the cost-effec­tive pro­duc­tion of effi­ca­cious and safe vac­cines in a plat­form already applied in mass vac­ci­na­tion pro­grams,” says Dr. Michael Pio­ntek, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of ARTES.

Virus-like par­ti­cles are high­ly orga­nized pro­tein struc­tures that mim­ic the con­for­ma­tion of authen­tic native virus­es with­out being infec­tious. They con­sist of one or more struc­tur­al pro­teins that have the abil­i­ty to self-assem­ble to mim­ic the struc­ture of real virus­es and to present for­eign epi­topes or com­plete anti­gens on their sur­face. Because of lack­ing a viral genome, recom­bi­nant VLPs are supe­ri­or to native virus­es while at the same time main­tain­ing the same poten­tial to trig­ger a strong immune response.

In Sep­tem­ber 2019, ARTES and Aus­tralian Bur­nett Insti­tute pub­lished data on the effi­cient pro­duc­tion of malar­ia vac­cine can­di­dates using virus-like par­ti­cles (eVLP) pro­duced with ARTESMETAVAX® plat­form pre­sent­ing malar­ia trans­mis­sion-stage anti­gens, which were capa­ble of induc­ing trans­mis­sion-block­ing anti­bod­ies (journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0221733).

For Split­Core plat­form, bor­re­lia anti­gen pre­sent­ing cVLP were devel­oped by a research team of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Freiburg and result­ed in the induc­tion of neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies against Lyme dis­ease.

In a sim­i­lar approach, SARS-CoV-2 anti­gens known to induce neu­tral­iz­ing anti­bod­ies will be pre­sent­ed by METAVAX® and Split­Core VLPs.

ARTES Biotech­nol­o­gy has spe­cif­ic exper­tise in vac­cine process devel­op­ment from micro­bial expres­sion sys­tems with sev­er­al prod­ucts out licensed. The com­pa­ny offers two ver­sa­tile and proven virus-like par­ti­cle (VLP) plat­form tech­nolo­gies for the devel­op­ment of vac­cine can­di­dates. The result­ing virus like par­ti­cles from bac­te­r­i­al and yeast cell lines are applic­a­ble as high­ly immuno­genic sub­unit vac­cines in human and ani­mal health.