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 ARTES’ METAVAX® platform presenting malaria transmission-stage antigens, which were capable of inducing transmission-blocking antibodies (

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.