Rochester-based Biotech company creates potential oral COVID vaccine

(ABC 6 News) – Vyriad, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing oncolytic virus therapies to treat a wide range of cancers, today announced results confirming the activity of an oral vaccine formulation for boosting immunity against SARS-CoV-2.

The full study conducted on nonhuman primates is published in the journal Vaccine accessible here.

The article describes the evaluation of an oral COVID-19 vaccine built on the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) platform. Oral administration of the VSV based vaccine induced antibodies that could neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. More importantly, the novel oral formulation powerfully boosted the levels of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-COV-2 in previously vaccinated monkeys. The oral vaccine was shown to be safe and did not cause clinically significant adverse effects.

“By tweaking the way we generate the VSV-SARS vaccine, we created a new oral formulation that worked remarkably well to boost virus neutralizing antibody titers when administered into the cheek pouches of cynomolgus macaques whose immunity was waning after they had been primed with an intramuscular vaccine. Oral dosing is convenient and more likely to be accepted by people who are reluctant to receive yet another intramuscular injection to boost their immunity.” stated Kah-Whye Peng, Ph.D., Chief Technical Officer of Vyriad, and first author of this publication.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over and there is a continued need to deliver vaccines to a much of the world’s population. An effective oral vaccine/booster has the potential to dramatically improve vaccine uptake rates by addressing some of the key barriers to effective deployment such as logistics of distribution to remote populations, fear of needles, and administration to young children. “We are excited by these groundbreaking findings.

Vyriad has cGMP manufacturing capabilities and is running clinical trials using an engineered VSV for cancer therapy. We are therefore actively seeking partnership to help bring this promising platform to human testing,” stated Stephen J Russell, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Vyriad.

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The publication is a collaboration between researchers at Vyriad, Imanis Life Sciences, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and the University of Minnesota.