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Bryan-based company to develop, test possible coronavirus vaccine

(KBTX)
Published: Feb. 4, 2020 at 2:58 PM CST
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iBio, a global leader in plant-based biologics manufacturing in Bryan, has partnered with Beijing CC-Pharming Ltd to develop and test a new 2019-nCoV vaccine to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Using FastPharming technology, iBio has been able to create antibody candidates for Ebola and Dengue fever as well as completely human and animal studies for yellow fever virus, human papillomavirus, seasonal influenza and avian influenza vaccine candidates.

“We are optimistic about the potential to combine iBio’s and CC-Pharming’s technical expertise and then deploy the FastPharming System to contribute to the development of a vaccine for this disease,” said iBio’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive, Robert B. Kay.

Due to the predictions the coronavirus will continue to worsen, the companies are expediting work.

Read their full press release below:

NEW YORK, Feb. 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In response to investor and media inquiries regarding their initiatives to address the coronavirus outbreak, iBio, Inc. (NYSE AMERICAN:IBIO) and Beijing CC-Pharming Ltd., today announced their collaboration to develop and test a new 2019-nCoV vaccine to be manufactured using iBio’s FastPharming System™. The companies are expediting work as predictions about spread of the disease continue to worsen.

The joint effort leverages twenty-five years of vaccine research and development experience – inclusive of work on the MERS-coronavirus – by Dr. Kevin Wang (Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer, CC-Pharming) along with the decades of experience that Dr. Sylvain Marcel (VP Upstream Bioprocessing, iBio) possesses in the rapid design of manufacturing processes for biopharmaceutical production in plant-based expression systems. If successful, the research will deliver product candidates which can then be quickly produced at iBio’s FastPharming Manufacturing Facility.

Originally built in 2010 with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the U.S. Department of Defense, iBio’s FastPharming Facility was part of the “Blue Angel” initiative to establish facilities capable of rapid delivery of medical countermeasures in response to a disease pandemic. The factory is equipped with automated hydroponics and vertical farming systems for the production of a wide array of biological medicines using a relative of the tobacco plant as the “bioreactor.” Accordingly, iBio and CC-Pharming will be in position to rapidly scale-up vaccine/therapeutic candidates that may come from the collaboration by growing large numbers of plants to produce the products.

To date, the FastPharming Technology has been used to produce antibody candidates for Ebola and Dengue fever viruses, while human and animal studies have been completed for vaccine candidates, including yellow fever virus, human papilloma virus, seasonal influenza and avian influenza. Robert B. Kay, iBio’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are optimistic about the potential to combine iBio’s and CC-Pharming’s technical expertise and then deploy the FastPharming System to contribute to the development of a vaccine for this disease.”

Dr. Wang commented, “This is an important collaboration to develop plant-derived vaccine strategies for the emerging coronavirus outbreak here in China, and around the world. iBio’s capabilities will enhance our ability to rapidly scale-up vaccine candidate production in effort to combat the 2019-nCoV virus’ threat to global health.”