in Development by Norvax and the mRNA UCV Consortium

How mRNA Vaccines Work, are Produced and Authorised for Safety and Efficacy

New collaboration between Norvax and mRNA UCV Consortium

Project Title: “Development of a lipid nanoparticle platform for mRNA Formulation”. The project will develop a novel Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) Formulation to be used in the mRNA Vaccine Platform of Vax Factory by Norvax. The scientific competence and technical experience of the researchers at Norvax plan to develop the mRNA Vaccine Platform for open development of new mRNA vaccines by members of the mRNA UCV Consortium, and Vaxcomm – The Vaccine FTO Commons, and to help enable Norvax to grow the international export business with the mRNA UCV product and contact manufacturing services for domestic and international customers.

Developing lipid nanoparticles that protect the mRNA molecular payload

mRNA is the body’s messenger molecule that instructs cells which proteins to produce. Proteins are central to all life and are functionally required for most biological processes in the body.  For the mRNA Universal Coronavirus Vaccine (mRNA UCV) product, when a person is injected with the mRNA UCV molecules, the genetic code of specific harmless “spike” protein segments, and other “conserved” targets of the virus, are delivered into the cell. The mRNA UCV molecules then instructs the body’s cells to make copies of the specific viral proteins. The immune system is now well understood to recognize these proteins as a foreign virus and build up immunity, as is the current case for successful mRNA vaccines for COVID-19. If the person later gets exposed to variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the immune system will be far better prepared to respond to the viral infection. However, mRNA molecules alone are fragile and would be quickly broken down by the body’s defenses. For delivery of mRNA molecules into the cell, the commonly understood solution is to encapsulate mRNA in Lipid Nanoparticles (LNPs) that protect the mRNA from degradation. This is how the mRNA molecules of the current COVID-19 mRNA vaccines reach the cells, undamaged, whereby the mRNA molecule is expressed into the specified proteins to enable the immune response against SAR-CoV-2 viruses.

Safe and effective Covid-19 mRNA vaccines; a proven path toward transformative new medicines

Norvax plans to develop the mRNA Universal Coronavirus Vaccine (UCV) with new and stable LNP formulations for mRNA vaccine manufacturing. These various formulations are characterized and mapped to include size and chemical properties. An important requirement for this methodology is that it is transferable and can function as a quality control in an industrial vaccine production, when vaccine manufacturing is to be scaled up. Throughout the project, Norvax will continuously adapt methodologies with upscaling objectives to lay a robust foundation for the industrial vaccine production at the Vax Factory by Norvax. The new and stable LNP nanoparticles will be tested in cell cultures. There, Norvax will rule out any toxic effects and investigate how efficiently the LNP Formulation is able to deliver functional mRNA into the cells. The formulations that are non-toxic and can deliver the most mRNA as efficiently as possible will then be tested in vivo to determine if they are suitable for mRNA vaccines of any diverse mRNA molecule specified for the particular target including infectious diseases, therapeutics and cancers.

An mRNA Vaccine Platform for mRNA vaccine innovations and pandemic preparedness innovations

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have transformed the global scientific technology toolbox for fighting the current pandemic and future pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic has put pandemic preparedness to an extreme test. It is now obvious to all that the world must increase preparedness for the inevitable emergence of future pathogens – to prevent the next pandemic. Norvax is establishing Vax Factory in the UK for vaccine manufacture of the mRNA UCV for global export and to help strengthen pandemic preparedness innovations. The development of the mRNA Vaccine Platform by Norvax and the mRNA UCV Consortium, with strategic technology vendors and partners, is expected to be transformative for development and manufacturing of mRNA vaccines and medicines for COVID-19 and future pandemic preparedness.

Learn more: Scientific development of a pan-coronavirus vaccine and the advantages of mRNA vaccines