China’s Clover generates US$230m in funding as its COVID-19 vaccine candidate edges towards late stage clinical trial

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/ipopba
© GettyImages/ipopba

Related tags COVID-19 CEPI China

Clover Biopharmaceuticals today announced that it has raised US$230m in Series C financing, bringing to over US$400m the funds it has generated in the past 12 months.

The round was co-led by GL Ventures, the early stage affiliate of Hillhouse Capital, and Temasek, with participation from Oceanpine Capital, OrbiMed and existing investor Delos Capital. 

Clover plans to initiate a global phase 2/3 efficacy study for its S-Trimer COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the first half of this year. The company said it has started production planning for potentially hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine in 2021, and the proceeds from this financing will help to move this production forward.

The capital will also go towards the development and expansion of the Chinese company's pipeline of protein-based vaccines and biologic cancer therapies that utilize its proprietary Trimer-Tag technology platform.

Clover is also looking to develop a multivalent COVID-19 vaccine against several variants, and it is working on rabies and influenza vaccines as well as a TRAIL-Trimer fusion protein targeting intracavitary malignancies.

It expects to advance multiple new pipeline products to the clinic in 2021 and to further expand its in-house R&D and cGMP commercial biomanufacturing capabilities.

Michael Yi, co-CIO and partner of Hillhouse Capital, said: "Clover has had a tremendous year of growth with the rapid advancement of the COVID-19 S-Trimer vaccine candidate through clinical development, and we look forward to potentially seeing the company provide this much-needed vaccine to communities in need across the globe. In addition, Clover's robust and differentiated pipeline of vaccines and biologic therapeutics hold great promise to make a difference in other infectious diseases and oncology indications."

Clover’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate fast facts:

  • Can be shipped globally at standard refrigeration
  • Doses expected to be available through COVAX once approved
  • Uses an adjuvant from Dynavax along with the company’s injectable S-Trimer COVID-19 vaccine candidate to create a strong immune response
  • The coalition for epidemic preparedness innovations (CEPI) has provided US$328m for both the Phase 1 and Phase 2/3 global study

COVID-19 vaccine trial data

Last month saw Clover publish data from its Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of its protein-based adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidate in The Lancet​.

The trial was a randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study in 150 adults and elderly participants. The study analyzed the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity data on two versions of the protein-based vaccine, one of which used GlaxoSmithKline’s AS03 adjuvant and the other of which used Dynavax’s CpG 1018 adjuvant.

The study found that Clover's adjuvanted S-Trimer COVID-19 vaccine candidates were well tolerated and safe. No serious adverse events related to the vaccine candidates studied were reported. Both vaccines induced high levels of neutralizing antibodies comparable to or exceeding levels in human convalescent sera as well as a strong Th1-biased cell-mediated immunity.

Based on the preclinical data showing protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in two animal species, the positive Phase 1 clinical trial results and scale-up manufacturing considerations, Clover is going ahead with a global Phase 2/3 study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of its S-Trimer COVID-19 vaccine candidate combined with Dynavax’s CpG 1018 adjuvant.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has committed to fund Clover's S-Trimer COVID-19 vaccine candidate through licensure with a total investment of up to US$328m, a portion of which will support the global Phase 2/3 study.

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