Development of a Safe and Effective COVID‑19 Vaccine and Booster Using Linear Covalently Closed DNA Minivectors

Sheikhzadeh, Mehdi | $50,000

Ontario Lambton College 2020 NSERC College COVID-19 Grant

The COVID‑19 pandemic is unlike anything the world has seen in over a century, both in terms of global spread and economic impact. In addition to non pharmaceutical interventions, there is an urgent need for vaccines and therapies to effectively eradicate COVID-19. Mediphage Bioceuticals located in Kitchener, ON is a genetic medicine company developing therapeutics for inherited ocular diseases, with the potential to expand to broader therapeutic areas. Their flagship technology, ministring DNA (msDNA), is a safe and effective gene delivery vector that can be used to cure genetic diseases that have limited, or no treatment options available.

The objective of this proposed project in collaboration with Lambton College is to produce a safe and effective vaccine and booster using MBI’s linear covalently closed (LCC) DNA minivectors. MBI and Lambton College’s previous collaborations have resulted in the successful optimization of the fermentation and small scale purification processes developed by MBI for the production of LCC msDNA. To date, separation of LCC DNA from other DNA species, both by size and topology has yet to be achieved beyond analytical levels of purification. An efficient and scaled-up approach to generate large scale msDNA production is required for generation of a commercially viable vaccine.

Successful completion of this project will allow Mediphage to produce the volume of msDNA-VLP necessary to conduct preclinical efficacy testing of in vitro and in vivo models. The success of this study will have colossal impacts for the future of Canadians as a vaccine is necessary to end the COVID‑19 global pandemic and allow the Canadian and global economy to begin recovering.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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