Advancing SARS-CoV-2 Subunit Vaccine Candidates with Improved Immunogenicity and Manufacturability


Access to current authorized and licensed vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 remains limited in many low- and middle-income countries. Storage requirements and costs are two factors that impact the distribution. New vaccines using safe and proven adjuvants like alum and protein subunits amenable to large-scale, low-cost production in existing manufacturing facilities could further enhance global access and immunity. This talk will describe a series of pandemic-driven collaborations to advance a modular vaccine candidate based on SARS-CoV-2 Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) presented on a Hepatitis B Antigen virus-like particle. Improvements in the molecular design of the RBD for immunogenicity and expression, engineering of strains of Komagaetalla phaffii  to allow scale-up in a methanol-free process, and non-clinical data to support demonstrations of protective immunity will be discussed. Considerations for future readiness for pandemics will be discussed.


Biography: J. Christopher Love is the Raymond A. (1921) and Helen E. St. Laurent Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Koch Institute of MIT, and the Director of the AltHost Consortium—an MIT-Industry research collaboration on advancing next-generation manufacturing hosts. His research lab focuses on advancing technologies for improving the design and production of recombinant biopharmaceuticals and vaccines. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and advises a number of companies, including ones he has helped found (Honeycomb Bio, OneCyte Bio, Sunflower Therapeutics).