• The IQS COVID-19 Vaccine Advances to the Preclinical Phase

Monday, 31 May, 2021
Comunicación y Marketing Corporativo IQS


The IQS project to prevent COVID-19 infection in healthy patients, CoviNanoVax, has reached the preclinical phase. This was the announcement released by the IQS Director and project leader, Dr Salvador Borrós, and Dr Cristina Fornaguera, with the Bioengineering Department at IQS, in a virtual ceremony held at IQS on 20 May. The event was organised jointly by the IQS Business Foundation and AIQS Alumni.

CoviNanoVax stands out as an mRNA vaccine based on polymer nanoparticles as vaccine vectors, which allows it to prevent infection by SARS-CoV-2. Currently, the project has advanced to the non-regulatory preclinical research stage and has been tested on mice. The researchers estimate that the procedure to synthesise the batch of large nanoparticles will end in September, thus the regulatory preclinical phase would finish in March 2022.

The project is highly focused on the technology used in mRNA synthesis and makes use of its potential as a platform. By changing only the encapsulated mRNA sequence, the vaccine can adapt to new variants of SARS-COV-2 that may arise. Furthermore, its mechanism could be adapted for other uses beyond preventing COVID-19, such as immunotherapy for cancer.

Partnering negotiations to advance to the clinical trial phase

Moving forward to the clinical trial phase, in which the vaccine is tested on humans, requires an investment of 1.5 million euro. IQS is holding conversations with various companies to establish a partnering agreement that would be capable of funding this round as well as subsequent ones.
“Our objective is to develop the next generation of vaccines, not only for COVID-19, but also for other applications, such as cancer immunotherapy,” states Dr Salvador Borrós.

From its beginning, the project was recognised by leading governmental entities as research at the forefront regarding COVID-19. Therefore, in April 2020 it received €193,000 in funding in the Call for projects and research on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, promoted by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Carlos III Institute of Health, to design the vaccine prototype and have the proof of concept up to the studies in the non-regulated preclinical phase.