Burnaby biotech company starts human trials of oral COVID-19 vaccine

Symvivo received funding of up to $2.8 million from the federal government’s National Research Council

A Burnaby biotech company is now doing human trials for an oral vaccine for COVID-19.

Symvivo Corporation announced Friday the enrollment and dosing of the first healthy volunteer in a clinical trial in Australia - which started Nov. 2 - evaluating its bacTRL-Spike oral vaccine candidate for the prevention of COVID-19.

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“We are exceptionally pleased to commence dosing of our oral DNA vaccine for COVID-19 as we continue scale-up and manufacturing activities for future clinical development,” said Eric Sievers, chief medical officer of Symvivo, in a statement. “The rapidly advancing pandemic mandates innovative scientific approaches and we believe a safe, protective oral vaccine could transform the landscape of traditional vaccination approaches, eliminating the need for syringes, needles, and trained vaccinators.”

The phase 1 trial, entitled Evaluating the Safety, Tolerability and Immunogenicity of bacTRL-Spike Vaccine for Prevention of COVID-19 (NCT04334980), is being conducted in partnership with Nucleus Network in Brisbane, Australia.

Associate Professor Paul Griffin, infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at Nucleus Network, is the primary investigator. The study will evaluate safety and preliminary evidence of immunogenicity to SARS CoV-2 elicited by bacTRL-Spike among healthy volunteers. Preliminary data are anticipated in early 2021.

Unlike traditional vaccines that are delivered by intramuscular injection, bacTRL-Spike is taken orally, providing the potential for individuals to self-administer the vaccine rather than requiring a trained medical professional, the company said.

In October, Symvivo announced that it is receiving advisory services and funding of up to $2.8 million from the federal government’s National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to support the clinical advancement of bacTRL-Spike.

The funding follows a notification Symvivo received from the Government of Canada indicating it had reviewed Symvivo’s proposal and its bacTRL-Spike vaccine candidate had met the required scientific and technical thresholds for funding.



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