A biotechnology company in Vancouver is, so far, remained relatively in the shadows in the fight against COVID-19. “We have much flew under the radar for a long time”, says Thomas Madden, chairman and managing director of Acuitas Therapeutics.
The company of 25 people, operates in a building of the UBC campus. Since 2009, she has specialized in the development of delivery systems for state of the art for the therapeutic nucleic acid-based lipid nanoparticles.
In the simplest of terms, Madden uses this analogy: “Imagine that you wanted to buy a glass ornament very fragile online and have it delivered to your home. If you use the equivalent of the delivery technology Acuitas, the ornament should be carefully encapsulated in a carrier, it would be protected, no matter the difficulty of the journey to your home. He would find your house. He would open the entrance door by himself and would enter, and then it déballerait the package and leave your ornament in your hallway. ”
This delivery system has helped partners like BioNTech, a German company, to develop a vaccine against the COVID-19.
This week, BioNTech and society american pharmaceutical Pfizer have announced results of human trials are encouraging.
The vaccine uses an advanced technology of messenger RNA, which causes the body to produce a protein that triggers an immune response.
This is different from a vaccine conventional that uses a “killed virus or attenuated” to produce this immune response.
But it is difficult to use the Mrna alone, ” says Madden.
“If you inject just the Mrna nude only, it will be quickly broken down in the body and it will not be able to penetrate into our cells, where it must work. Acuitas provides management technology that protects the Mrna after its administration, and the transports then in the cells, ” he says.
Madden said that one of the biggest advantages of using a vaccine with Mrna is that it can be developed much more rapidly than a traditional vaccine.
“The great advantage here is that we could potentially show their safety and efficacy more quickly and to make them available more quickly. In addition, the extension of their manufacturing is, in some cases, a little simpler than for conventional vaccines “, he explains.
The delivery technology of Acuitas is also used by other international partners in Europe, who hope to put an end to the global pandemic.
“It is well that the canadian science and canadian technology is being used and that it is an essential component of such vaccines under development,” says Madden.
BioNTech and Pfizer will continue to study the new vaccine to Mrna.
Madden said that a vaccine will probably not be ready before 2021.