The project will look to establish the best manufacturing processes and provide the best conditions for creating a first-of-its-kind saRNA flu vaccine. This vaccine will consist of the four WHO-mandated flu antigens encoded on a single saRNA construct. This approach – using saRNA rather than traditional flu vaccines – could result in reducing the time new treatments can come to market and make them more cost-effective.
saRNA is a new technology that has the potential to be used to develop medicines and vaccines. Compared with mRNA, saRNA has the ability to self-amplify. This means the medicines and vaccines produced could be delivered at a lower dose, thereby increasing availability and reducing costs.
The need for innovative flu vaccines is important as pressure on the NHS grows every winter. According to figures published by the NHS England, 3746 people a day were hospitalised with flu in the 7 days leading up to 25 December 2022.
Using saRNA for flu vaccines has the potential to significantly reduce the lead time between strain selection and a final vaccine from 12 to 6 months, increasing the likelihood of generating a more effective vaccine.
Dr Brendan Fish, our Director of Biologics & RNA Centre of Excellence, said:
“We are delighted to be teaming up with RNA experts at VaxEquity to help ensure the promise of the post-pandemic push for global RNA vaccines is fulfilled. Through use of our RNA Centre of Excellence we will identify key factors in saRNA manufacturing to fine-tune and accelerate the process of saRNA transcription in batch processes, pioneering the path to a more efficient production of future saRNA vaccines.”
Dr Tim Sparey, Managing Director at VaxEquity, said:
“The potential of nucleic acids as vaccines and therapeutics is only just being realised. This powerful collaboration with CPI, fuelled by Innovate UK, starts with a giant step forward in scaling the manufacturing of a novel saRNA influenza vaccine. With our combined skill and capabilities, we plan to proceed into preclinical and clinical development to bring the world real benefit in the fight against flu. This collaboration will identify, establish, and protect an optimised process for saRNA manufacture which should open up the global horizon to many future vaccine and therapeutics.”