Ocugen (OCGN) Enters Agreement With Washington University in St. Louis for Commercialization of Intranasal COVID-19 Vaccine in US, Europe and Japan
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Ocugen, Inc. (Ocugen) (NASDAQ: OCGN), a biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel gene and cell therapies and vaccines, today announced that the company has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Washington University in St. Louis, MO for the rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize its proprietary, intranasally delivered COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, Europe, and Japan. This vaccine is already authorized for emergency use in India and is an important addition to Ocugen’s COVID-19 vaccine portfolio.
“Washington University’s COVID-19 nasal vaccine technology has been shown to induce strong mucosal immunity with potential to reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection, transmission, and the emergence of new variants,” said Dr. Shankar Musunuri, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-Founder of Ocugen. “As the effort to end the pandemic focuses on effective booster options, Ocugen is excited about the potential for this vaccine to be a universal booster, regardless of previous COVID-19 vaccination history. We look forward to working with U.S., European, and Japanese regulators to expedite development.”
Ocugen’s intranasal vaccine candidate is a recombinant, replication-deficient, adenovirus-vectored vaccine with a prefusion stabilized spike protein. As a mucosal vaccine delivered through the intranasal route, we believe it has potential to generate rapid local immunity in the nose, mouth, upper airways, and lungs where SARS-CoV-2 enters and affects the body most. This is particularly important during times of peak transmission. In addition, intranasal delivery provides an alternative to those who are hesitant to receive injectable vaccines.
“In recent months we have seen COVID-19 continue to spread—despite high levels of vaccination the U.S., Europe, and Japan have achieved,” said Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD, co-inventor of the nasal vaccine technology and the Herbert S. Gasser Professor and a professor of medicine, of molecular microbiology and of pathology & immunology at Washington University School of Medicine. “Because the vaccine can be delivered directly into the nose, it is specifically designed to block infection at the portal of virus entry, and we believe it may help prevent transmission as well as provide protection against new COVID-19 variants.”
Dr. Diamond developed the vaccine with David T. Curiel, MD, PhD, the Distinguished Professor of Radiation Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine.
Ocugen intends to work closely with U.S. government agencies tasked with pandemic preparedness and response to initiate clinical trials and manufacture the intranasal vaccine, as well as pursue funding and investment options.
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