Description:
 
Background
To date, there are over 16 million confirmed cases of people infected with the COVID-19 virus, with over 649,000 deaths worldwide. While the medical community works to develop a way to combat this virus, there are currently no known effective treatments or vaccines. 
A number of RNA vaccines are currently in development. The Cambridge based company Moderna is expected to enter Phase 3 testing for their mRNA vaccine candidate within the next few weeks. However, if an mRNA vaccine were to be approved, it would be the first of its type. Additionally, many of the vaccines under development would be prophylactic in nature, and would not be adaptable for therapeutic treatment.
 
Technology Overview
This technology relates to the development of an injectable cryogel-based COVID-19 vaccine. The platform is intended to function prophylactically and therapeutically through an optimized formulation, sustained delivery of immunomodulatory factors, and control of immune signaling. The vaccine contains immunomodulatory factors, including SARS-CoV-2 subunits (S-protein, N-protein), adjuvants, and a dendritic cell recruiting factor. This cryogel vaccine is being developed to recruit, host, and activate naive dendritic cells, and then release mature dendritic cells to prime the immune system against COVID-19. 
The biodegradable and porous cryogel, (an advanced type of hydrogel, made from FDA-approved hyaluronic acid), has unique properties that allow for encapsulation, protection, and controlled delivery of therapeutic agents. The cryogel facilitates cell infiltration, migration, and survival due to its unique and tunable microporous interconnected architecture, while mimicking the extracellular matrix. 
 
Benefits
- A vaccine to treat COVID-19 prophylactically and therapeutically 
- Targets various SARS-CoV-2 subunits 
- Controlled delivery of immunomodulatory factors 
- Compatible with various adjuvants and antigens, both commercially available and new 
 
Applications
- Vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 virus 
- Vaccines for other infectious diseases 
 
Opportunity
- License
- Partnering
- Research collaboration
Patent Information:
Category(s):
Diagnostics
Biotechnology
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
m.saulich@northeastern.edu
Inventors:
Sidi Bencherif
Keywords:
Biomaterials
COVID-19
Vaccine