Cristal Therapeutics and Intravacc Announce Strategic Collaboration to Advance Novel Vaccine Platforms

Bilthoven and Maastricht, The Netherlands, 6 January 2021

  • First joint CriVac® vaccine candidate to target receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2
  • Evaluation of Cristal’s CliCr® and Intravacc’s OMV technology

Intravacc, one of the leading translational research and development vaccine companies with an extensive track record in developing infectious disease vaccines, and Cristal Therapeutics, a technology leader in enabling safer and more effective therapeutics, today announced a strategic collaboration to develop novel vaccine programs against human diseases with the initial candidate targeting COVID-19.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cristal Therapeutics and Intravacc will collaborate with an initial focus on generating a CriVac® vaccine candidate based on the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. In addition, Cristal Therapeutics will provide its powerful copper free click chemistry reagent, CliCr®, for evaluation with Intravacc’s proprietary outer membrane vesicles (OMV) technology. OMV vaccines allow for the native conformation of immunity-stimulating antigens. After completion of the evaluation period Intravacc and Cristal will jointly explore next steps to further advance the program.

Dr. Jan Groen, CEO of Intravacc, said: “Intravacc shares the believe that no one should be suffering from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. We have a track record in translational vaccinology and an established infrastructure that allows for the accelerated development of promising vaccine candidates such as Cristal’s CriVac approach. Combining Cristal’s technologies with Intravacc’s proprietary LPS and OMV technologies holds great promise. We look forward to working closely with the Cristal team to advance the program through preclinical evaluation.”

As part of this agreement, Intravacc will also provide access to its proprietary, detoxified LPS technology to enhance immune activation. All technologies represent innovative approaches to vaccine development enabling an efficient presentation of antigens to the immune system. Combining the technologies will further allow swift development of vaccine candidates against a broad range of human diseases. This is particularly driven by a scalable GMP manufacturing process.

Axel Mescheder, M.D., CEO and CMO of Cristal, commented: “Over the past year, it has become evident that vaccines play a crucial role in protecting us, our families and those at high risk for infectious diseases. We have put great effort in optimizing our unique CriVac platform based on our CriPec nanoparticles and CliCr conjugation technology. Our CriVac technology platform mimics features of a live virus, inducing immunity in a safe and efficient way, providing a solid foundation for the development of novel vaccine approaches. We look forward to collaborating with Intravacc to develop novel therapeutic candidates for vaccine-preventable diseases.”

For more information please contact:

Cristal Therapeutics
Alex Jones, Manager Business Development
Phone: + 31 43 388 5868

Trophic Communications
Eva Mulder or Sophia Hergenhan, Ph.D.
Phone: +49 89 238 877-30

Dr. Jan Groen, CEO
Phone: +31 30 7920 454

Mirjam Hartman, Media relations
Phone: +31 6 115 969 94

LifeSpring Life Sciences Communication, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Leon Melens
Phone: +31 6 538 16427

About CriVac®
CriVac®, Cristal’s proprietary vaccination platform, combines the tuneability and ease of manufacturing of biodegradable CriPec® nanoparticles with the CliCr® conjugation technology for fast and controlled conjugation of antigens on the nanoparticle surface. This generates coated nanoparticles that mimic the features of a live virus to induce a potent immune response, safely, and solely against the displayed antigen. The tuneability allows Cristal to rapidly design candidates for any antigen, allowing swift development of vaccines against a broad range of different pathogens. CriVac® vaccines are easy to be (GMP) manufactured at large scale, and the final product can be freeze-dried, therefore not requiring cold chain storage, all contributing to key advantages over existing vaccines.

About CliCr®
CliCr® is a class of fast-reacting molecular entities for conjugating compounds to each other in a strain-promoted azide-alkyne cycloaddition click reaction. CliCr® is able to attach a broad range of small molecule active agents as well as large molecular entities including biologics, to CriPec® nanoparticles. The attractive functionalization possibilities, combined with its versatility, great reactivity and small size offer multiple opportunities for CliCr® reagents to become the new standard for non-copper catalyzed click reactions in a multitude of applications.

About Intravacc’s OMV platform technology
For the development of vaccines, Intravacc has designed and developed a platform based on outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) – spherical particles with intrinsic adjuvant properties. The OMVs can be rigged with immunogenic peptides and/or proteins that stimulate effective adaptive immunity. The OMV carrier has been optimized to induce a more effective immune response against these newly introduced antigens. Intravacc has also developed genetic tools to increase the yield of OMVs, reduce the toxicity and achieve the desired antigenic composition. Intravacc’s OMV platform is fully scalable and allows rapid and efficient modification of the antigen composition, either through genetic modification of the bacterial host or by associating antigens with stored OMVs.

About LPS
Intravacc’s proprietary LPS technology is based upon the detoxification of the Lipid A moiety of the LPS derived from Neisseria Meningitides. LPS is an effective TLR-4 agonist. Intravacc has developed a panel of detoxified LPS mutants with tailored safety/immune stimulatory profiles. A cGMP production and purification process is in place to bring the LPS molecules as standalone adjuvants into clinical testing.

About Intravacc
Bilthoven, Netherlands, based Intravacc is one of the world’s leading institutes for translational vaccinology. As an established independent R&D organization with over 100 years’ experience in the development and optimization of vaccines and vaccine technologies, Intravacc has transferred its technology all over the globe, including oral polio vaccines, measles vaccines, and DPT, Hib and influenza vaccines. Intravacc offers a wide range of expertise to independently develop vaccines from lead concept to clinical phase I/II studies for partners worldwide such as academia, public health organizations (WHO, BMGF), and biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Intravacc also has its own proprietary vaccine platform and established state-of-the-art research and production (GMP) facilities. Its aim is to substantially reduce development risks and costs of new vaccines in order to contribute to global health and equity in access to vaccines worldwide.
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About Cristal Therapeutics
Cristal Therapeutics applies three distinct and interconnected technologies together with biologic insight to improve the therapeutic profile of our partners’ programs in development. Based on over 10 years of real-world experience, Cristal’s CliCr, CriPec and CriVac technologies provide superior conjugation, enhance target specificity and engender highly selective immune responses, thereby increasing efficacy and reducing toxicity. The company aims to be the partner of choice for overcoming challenges and enabling the full potential of ADCs, immuno-oncology treatments, vaccines, among a broad range of therapeutics, tuned to modality and indication.