Intravacc to begin clinical trials for nasal COVID vaccine


The design of the vaccine is aimed to provide broad protection, harnessing both arms of the immune system

Intravacc, a specialist in R&D for vaccines against infectious diseases, has announced a partnership with Dutch Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) to develop and evaluate a nasal spray corona vaccine in a clinical Phase I/II study. The candidate, Nanovac, is based on soluble nano-spheres containing synthetic mini proteins that, when administered as a nasal spray, directly protect the upper respiratory tract (including nasal passages and throat) before the virus reaches the lungs.

The design of the vaccine is aimed to provide broad protection, harnessing both arms of the immune system against COVID-19, but also SARS-1, MERS, and other beta coronaviruses. The company also develops AVACC-10, a nasal spray corona vaccine based on Outer Membrane Vesicles. Nasal spray vaccines are a potential solution for patients with needle stick fears.

The planned clinical Phase I/II study is being made possible in part by the Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation of Health~Holland, part of the Dutch top sector Life Sciences & Health. The organisation plays a connecting role between the business community, government, research institutes, patients and social organisations.

The Phase I/II clinical study is led by Dr Leo Visser of the Infectious Diseases Department of the LUMC. Intravacc will focus on preclinical exercises and the process development research of the vaccine. The vaccine will be tested on healthy volunteers to evaluate safety and tolerability. This trial is expected to start at the end of 2022 and the first study data is expected in the first half of 2023.

Dr Luis J. Cruz, head of LUMC’s Translational Nanobiomaterials and Imaging department, said: “Intravacc and LUMC create major synergy by combining distinct complementary expertise and competencies. A promising collaboration!”

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Jan Groen PhD, Intravacc’s CEO commented: “I am particularly pleased with Intravacc's input in the development of this new nasal spray vaccine. This concept and Intravacc's own AVACC-10 vaccine are potential game-changers in the fight against COVID. According to renowned immunologist Professor Ed Lavelle, of Trinity College Dublin, transmission of the virus is best blocked where it enters the body. It is therefore preferable to administer the vaccine via a spray in the nose for direct immunisation of the throat and nasal mucosa (2022 nose spray interview).”