File: Illustrative photo of a vaccination: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
By Shoshanna Solomon
Israeli developer of universal flu vaccine candidate says construction will soon start in Jerusalem BioPark
BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd., a developer of a universal flu vaccine candidate, said Tuesday it will soon start construction of a new manufacturing facility in Jerusalem.
The Ness Ziona-based company whose shares are traded on the Nasdaq and in Tel Aviv said it has signed an agreement to lease a space of approximately 1,800 square meters in the Jerusalem BioPark, located in the Ein Kerem Hadassah campus, next to Hadassah University Hospitals and Hebrew University’s Medical School.
The mid-sized facility is expected to have the capacity to annually produce tens of millions of doses of the M-001 universal flu vaccine candidate, either in single-dose syringe or in bulk. M-001 is designed to provide protection against current and future seasonal and pandemic flu strains.
“We expect our new facility will optimize production timelines and significantly reduce production costs,” said Dr Shimon Hassin, BiondVax’s Chief Operating Officer. “This new planned mid-size commercial manufacturing facility will mark the culmination of BiondVax’s transformation into a fully integrated pharmaceutical company,” operating under international standards.
Planning and design of the facility has begun, “while construction will begin soon,” the statement said.
Costs of building and operating the facility are partially supported by a previously announced grant from Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry and a €20 million agreement with the European Investment Bank, the statement said.
BiondVax said in June that €20 million loan from the European Investment Bank would help it take a step forward in bringing the vaccine onto the market. “We now have the resources to launch Phase 3 trials and set up a mid-sized commercial manufacturing plant,” Dr. Ron Babecoff, CEO of BiondVax said at the time.
BiondVax, established in 2005, licensed the technology from the Weizmann Institute, where it was developed in the mid-90s.