COVID-19

Ose immuno: developing OSE Covid vaccine appears less dependent on variant mutations

(BFM Bourse) – The targets (or epitopes) that the OSE Immuno CoVepiT vaccine recognizes in the coronavirus molecule appear independent of the mutations identified in current and emerging variants, while early clinical data show a very good level of response in healthy volunteers. Pending new results expected in the first quarter of 2022, the stock is taking off.

The price of Nantes biotech company OSE Immuno jumped to its best level for more than two months on Tuesday morning, increasing 12.77% to 11.48 euros around 10:00 am, thank you to the announcement of the first positive results in its multi-target vaccine. CoVepiT against Covid. In addition, although administration to new volunteers has been suspended since July, doctors have observed that the indurations appearing at the injection site, which had caused the interruption of the injections as a precaution, had resolved within a few weeks in their Most. of the participants without causing other symptoms.

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Unlike the most widely used vaccines today, both AstraZeneca and Moderna and Pfizer’s messenger RNA-based vaccines, which elicit a B-cell response (which in turn generate antibodies), the candidate d ‘OSE Immuno activates a a type of white blood cell called T cells that can promote a longer lasting response. In addition, CoVepiT is based on a technology to recognize specific markers of the virus’s proteins, called epitopes, in this case recognizing 11 different epitopes of the coronavirus, which gives the immune system several possibilities to recognize it, possibly despite mutations.

Selected, using the artificial intelligence specialist MAbSilico, among a large number of peptides derived from different proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses, in relation to particularly “stable” sites in the virus envelope, CoVepiT epitopes appear to be independent of mutations identified in current and emerging variants.

Efficiency unaffected by immunosuppressive treatments

On the Tuesday before the market close, OSE Immunotherapeutics announced that the immune response measured in the eight volunteers who at this stage had received CoVepiT corresponded to the efficacy expected six weeks after injection (primary endpoint of the trial), with good immunogenicity. of T cells against viruses. epitopes. “Elevated interferon-gamma responses measured by Elispot are observed in 100% of the participants, from day 22 to week 6. These immunological results are significantly better than those obtained in convalescent patients and confirm the interest and mechanism of action of the vaccine on the T response, ”the company said.

Furthermore, new preclinical studies have shown that the intensity and quality of T-cell immunogenicity induced by the CoVepiT vaccine was not altered by concomitant immunosuppressive treatments such as antimetabolites (mycophenolate mofetil, MMF, inhibiting immunosuppressive proliferation of B and T cells. ) or by a strong depletion of B cells that produce antibodies (seen with rituximab, used in autoimmune diseases and certain cancers). Therefore, interest in generating T cells appears to be increasing, particularly for immunosuppressed patients, who obtain only weak antibody responses despite repeated administration of currently approved vaccines.

To date, the phase 1 clinical trial (first stage of clinical trials) is still suspended due to a limited number of side effects, although not serious: nodule-like indurations at the injection site. Since then, OSE announces, the data has been periodically analyzed with the independent committee in charge of evaluating the safety of the trial (Safety Monitoring Committee) and the research center in Ghent, Belgium. Indurations resolved within a few weeks for most participants, without a systemic reaction, without fever or inflammation, without local ulceration. The follow-up is continuous and shows a good tolerance profile, indicates the firm, specifying that the appearance of frequent indurations has already been noted for other vaccines that induce a T lymphocyte response (in particular FLU-v, a broad spectrum vaccine against the seasonal influenza of SEEK or CoVac-1, a German project also against the coronavirus).

Possible “longer term protection”

“All the first results generated, on tolerance and immunological, confirm that the modified epitope platform acts by amplifying the response of the T cells and allows to consider the protection in the longer term. For immunosuppressed populations, the current recommendations refer to the administration of additional doses of the vaccines already registered in an attempt to strengthen the antibody response, which currently hinders access to these patients and the clinical development of CoVepiT. We expect additional immunogenicity results at six months during the first quarter of 2022 of long-term memory T and if they are positive, we will prepare a meeting with health agencies to prioritize development in immunosuppressed patients ”, explained Alexis Peyrolles, CEO of OSE Immuno.

This epitope-modified therapeutic approach has already enabled the company to obtain a T response against tumor antigens in oncology, which translates into a significant survival benefit of the Tedopi product in non-small cell lung cancer. “These new CoVepiT results confirm the value of our epitope platform, particularly for the most vulnerable populations,” adds the manager.

Guillaume Bayre – © 2021 BFM Bourse

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