Australia accelerates new COVID-19 vaccine to fight mutant strains
MEDIA RELEASE May 2021 A leading South Australian immunologist has been awarded $3 million from the Federal Government...
Australian biotechnology company Sementis Limited has raised more than $5.2 million to accelerate work on its locally developed viral vector-based vaccine technology and a next-generation Covid-19 vaccine.
Development of the viral vector-based technology has the potential to strengthen Australia’s sovereign vaccine capability and response. The Sementis vaccine is intended to complement the existing vaccines being rolled out nationally and contribute to global solutions to Covid-19.
Sementis Ltd is developing its next-generation vaccine with the University of South Australia, based on the Sementis Copenhagen Vector (SCV) platform. The vaccine has been in development since March 2020.
The $5.256 million rights issue enables Sementis to progress a number of activities and milestones over the next 18 months. These include developing an industrial quality and scale manufacturing process to enable Phase 1 clinical trials.
Sementis Chair, Martyn Evans, said: “This level of funding represents a significant vote of confidence in Sementis and in the program of work we presented to shareholders. It is a substantial investment in a biotech company at our stage of development and we respect the trust our shareholders have placed in the science and the research team.
“We will continue to work towards our long-term objective of proving up the vaccine platform and the efforts by Sementis to contribute an Australian solution to the global fight against Covid-19.”
Sementis CEO, Leanne Hobbs, said: “We are at a critical and exciting stage as a company, with our ambition to move into clinical phase within the next two years requiring a step-change in investment required to achieve our ambition.
“This capital raised will enable our team to accelerate efforts in developing a scalable manufacturing process. It will contribute towards finalising pre-clinical and Phase 1 clinical studies for our next-generation Covid-19 vaccine candidate as well as demonstrating proof of concept for the Sementis vaccine platform technology.
“Our focus is to develop our vaccines in the most robust way to meet international standards for a long-term public health outcome, for both the Australian and international community.”
Earlier this year, Sementis Chief Scientific Officer Prof John Hayball, in partnership with the University of South Australia, was awarded a $2.9 million Federal Government grant via the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). This grant will be used to progress the pre-clinical development and human clinical trials for a next-generation Covid-19 vaccine.