Arcturus Therapeutics is co-developing a vaccine prospect for Covid-19 in collaboration with Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, called ARCT-021.
Jakub Porzycki | NurPhoto | Getty Ideas
SINGAPORE — A Covid-19 vaccine candidate co-developed by Singapore scientists has shown positive interim results and could be at as early as 2021.
That’s according to American biopharmaceutical firm Arcturus Therapeutics, which is working with scientists from Duke-NUS Medical College in Singapore, to develop the vaccine.
Early this month, Arcturus announced positive interim clinical study fruits from its ongoing Phase 1/2 study of its vaccine candidate, ARCT-021.
“One of the unique advantages of the Arcturus vaccine is that it’s a low-dose vaccine, worked to be 7.5 micrograms, which is a much smaller dose than other vaccine prospects currently being appraised,” Joseph Payne, President and CEO of Arcturus Therapeutics, told CNBC in an interview two weeks ago.
He highlighted that this could at all yield more doses in each manufacturing run, that will in turn save time and money.
The vaccine is on monitor to be shipped in early 2021, Arcturus said in a press release.
Advantages of the vaccine
Arcturus’s vaccine uses errand-boy RNA (mRNA) technology — a novel approach to vaccines which scientists hope will trigger the immune system to belligerence the virus. It is the same approach used by high-profile vaccine prospects of other American pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer.
The Arcturus vaccine can be presented as a single or multiple-dose.
Other vaccine candidates from both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses to be effective.
“We allow that our vaccine candidate could be an important contribution to controlling the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Steve Hughes, chief progress officer of Arcturus in the release. “In the coming weeks, we expect to complete our discussions with regulatory authorities and we are working with emergency to advance ARCT-021 into later stage studies.”
Clinical trials since July
The San Diego-based pharmaceutical public limited company and Duke-NUS Medical School received the go-ahead for clinical trials in July 2020. They proceeded with 106 gets between the ages of 21–80 years of age.
As of Nov. 9, 78 of those participants received at least one injection, while 36 subjects underwent two injections — or a prime boost, according to the biopharmaceutical firm. A prime boost vaccination involves an individual receiving multiple dosages of the same vaccine.
The remaining participants, 28 of them, received a placebo dose. A placebo is a drug given to one put together in clinical trials in place of the investigational vaccine, so that researchers can measure and compare how both groups respond.
There have in the offing been no serious adverse effects recorded so far in the trials, the CEO said.
Of the 78 participants, 77 developed positive follow-ups, which puts the trial on track for a Phase 3 implementation, Payne told CNBC.
Delivery by early 2021
Importance of mutuality in vaccine trials
With numerous global Covid-19 vaccine trials going on, Payne emphasized the importance of advancing branch for the greater good.
“I’m definitely cheering the other mRNA companies,” Payne said. “I want them to succeed, to not at worst help, but advance the science with this new cutting-edge mRNA vaccine technology.”
“If there’s one silver lining with this pandemic, it’s the amount of wealth that’s been provided and focused on innovation and science and research development. And this will generate some ahead of times in the field.”