SOUTH AFRICA – Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a Cape Town based biotechnology company, has collaborated with Curapath to advance the development of the first African-owned mRNA SARS-Cov-2 vaccine.

Under the collaboration, Curapath will be responsible for development of a scaled-up manufacturing process of the nanoparticle formulation for the vaccine and will assist in the developing the fill/finish process.

Curapath is a leader in the design, development, and custom manufacturing of polyamino-acid- and lipid-based nanoparticle delivery systems for therapeutics and vaccines.

“We are honored to have been selected to support this important initiative,” said Robert Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Curapath.

“Our team’s extensive experience in developing and optimizing lipid nanoparticle formulations and fill/finish processes will accelerate timelines and help ensure success of the program both in this initial phase and as the process is transferred to other countries.”

Afrigen Biologics leads a South African-based mRNA technology transfer hub consortium, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and established to address concerns that less affluent countries were not getting sufficient access to vaccines against COVID-19.

The goal of the WHO vaccine initiative is to help manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries produce their own Covid-19 vaccines and eventually, produce other vaccines and therapeutics using the mRNA platform, reducing reliance on pharmaceutical companies in high income geographies.

The goal is to build capacity in low- and middle-income countries by transferring technology and know-how to a network of recipients (spokes) through a center of excellence and training such as the mRNA vaccine technology hub located at Afrigen in Cape Town, South Africa.

“We are excited to establish this mRNA technology transfer hub, building strategic capacity in low- and middle-income countries for mRNA vaccine manufacturing and innovation,” said Professor Petro Terblanche, Managing Director of Afrigen Biologics.

“Our collaboration with Curapath brings significant value to the program and our efforts to fast-track development of the first mRNA vaccine on the African continent.”

In the initial phase of the project, Afrigen and Curapath will develop the investigational mRNA vaccine which will be manufactured in Afrigen’s GMP facility to support a Phase 1/2 clinical trial, expected to begin in 2023.

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