The NevoLine, Univercells’ proprietary platform for manufacturing affordable vaccines, will be used to produce measles and rubella (M&R) vaccines.
A $14.3m (€12.76) grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be put towards increasing production of the M&R vaccine production platform to provide greater availability in low- to middle- income countries.
According to Univercells, conventional vaccine manufacturing often requires high capital and operating costs and may not provide a sustainable or cost-effective solution. However, the company’s bioproduction platform uses less equipment and lower utilities, therefore, allowing for a smaller operating facility, which enables lower capital investment and operating costs.
A spokesperson for Univercells told us that the platform combines an intensified fixed-bed bioreactor chained with in-line product concentration, enabling the equipment used to be effectively miniaturized.
“This intensified upstream processing can be integrated with downstream technologies to deliver an end-to-end manufacturing process. Benefitting from a very low footprint, the entire process can be contained in a series of cabinets – biosafety cabinets or isolators – leading to a low-footprint integrated and automated production system,” the spokesperson added.
The company will adapt the NevoLine platform for M&R processes and initiate clinical validation, to do so Univercells will work with its existing partner, Batavia Biosciences.
An affordable supply and disease eradication
Measles and rubella are two viral infectious diseases that affect a significant amount of the world, despite being preventable by vaccination. Accessibility to vaccines pose a challenge, as effective vaccinations cannot often be produced for programs affordably
“Currently 85% of children globally receive the first dose of measles and rubella vaccine, while only 60% receive the required second dose. Closing the gap will require a sustainable supply of affordable measles and rubella vaccines,” the Univercells spokesperson explained.
Univercells will also work to discover other vaccine delivery technologies under evaluation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further reduce costs and create immunization campaigns to improve accessibility.
“Novel vaccine delivery technologies will also be evaluated in combination with the development of this measles and rubella production platform. The novel administration technologies aim at facilitating the execution of immunization campaigns and increasing vaccination coverage, to eventually reach and maintain eradication of the diseases,” said the spokesperson.
Univercells’ NevoLine has been previously used to produce Sabin inactivated polio vaccine (sIPV), after a different grant awarded to the company by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.