TIANJIN, China & VANCOUVER, B.C.—Precision NanoSystems Inc. (PNI) has reported that it has received a commitment of up to $18.2 million in support from the Canadian government under the Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s Strategic Innovation Fund. The company will use the investment to advance a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine candidate to clinical trials.
Dr. Andrew Geall, chief scientific officer of Precision NanoSystems, and his team will use their technology platforms, expertise in self-amplifying mRNA vectors, lipid-based drug delivery systems and nanomedicine manufacturing to develop a cost-effective COVID-19 vaccine.
“An effective vaccine will be critical as we work to contain the COVID-19 virus and prevent future infections,” said the Honorable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Today’s contribution will support PNI to advance the development of a mRNA vaccine candidate through preclinical studies and clinical trials to help protect Canadians.”
Precision NanoSystems says that the company is excited to be leading the development of a COVID-19 vaccine that will be made in Canada.
“Since its inception PNI has executed on its mission to accelerate the creation of transformative medicines. It is an honor to be supported by the Canadian government in this global fight against COVID-19 and to further build capabilities for rapid response against COVID-19 and future pandemics,” noted James Taylor, CEO and co-founder of Precision NanoSystems.
Back in May, Precision NanoSystems announced a co-development agreement with CanSino Biologics Inc. for a mRNA lipid nanoparticle (mRNA-LNP) vaccine against COVID-19. The parties plan to use Precision NanoSystems’ proprietary RNA vaccine platform — comprised of a lipid nanoparticle delivery system and the NanoAssemblr manufacturing technology — to advance their vaccine candidate towards human clinical testing, and eventually commercialization, in different regions.
Precision NanoSystems is responsible for the mRNA-LNP vaccine development, and CanSinoBIO is covering preclinical testing, human clinical trials, regulatory approval and commercialization. CanSinoBIO has rights to commercialize the vaccine product in Asia, excepting Japan. Precision NanoSystems retains the rights for rest of the world. The agreement also includes undisclosed payments and royalties.
“We are very excited to partner with CanSinoBIO, an innovative biopharmaceutical company leading the way for COVID-19 vaccine development,” stated Taylor in a press release. “We strongly believe PNI’s NxGen microfluidic technology and our expertise will enable the rapid development and manufacturing of an effective mRNA-LNP vaccine for COVID-19, and provides the foundation for future pandemic preparedness.”
“Our team has been dedicated to developing safe and effective vaccines to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Dr. Xuefeng Yu, who is co-founder, chairman and CEO of CanSinoBIO. “Since RNA vaccines are a disruptive technology as they do not require cell culture, utilize synthetic delivery and have a smaller manufacturing footprint, our partnership with PNI to advance a mRNA-LNP vaccine candidate will not only help accelerate the process, but will also potentially revolutionize the vaccine industry.”