Edmonton company receives federal funds to develop COVID-19 vaccine

Entos Pharmaceuticals has been awarded federal money to conduct the phase 1 clinical trial of Covigenix, its COVID-19 DNA vaccine.

Entos is led by Dr. John Lewis, a University of Alberta researcher who is world-renowned for his team’s work on prostate cancer detection, progression and drug delivery.

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The Alberta-based company is one of six across the country to share up to $23.2 million in funding through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).

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Health Matters: Alberta COVID-19 vaccine advancing to human testing

The federal government is also “pursuing the purchase and development of vaccines, treatments, and related supplies.”

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In a news release Friday, Entos said it is getting “advisory services” and up to $5 million from the NRC IRAP “as part of the government of Canada’s continuing support for the development of domestic COVID-19 vaccine candidates.”

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The healthcare biotechnology company has developed a Fusogenix DNA vaccine called Covigenix. In preclinical studies, the vaccine induces a “a strong neutralizing antibody response plus potent and balanced T-cell response and against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” the company said.

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The federal money will advance the vaccine research to phase 1 human clinical trials to assess its safety, Entos said. This will be done at the Clinical Trials Research Centre in Nova Scotia.

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“Entos is honoured to be one of the innovative Canadian companies receiving NRC IRAP support,” CEO John Lewis said.

“We are excited to use this funding to advance the phase 1 human clinical trial of Covigenix at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology.”

Entos continues to seek funding for phases 2 and 3 human clinical trials, to speed up manufacturing capacity, and widen distribution to reach millions around the world.

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