Israeli drug developer NRx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: NRXP) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) to jointly develop the BriLife Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is in Phase II clinical trials and NRx will complete the trials and commercialization of the vaccine.
NRx was founded by the Israeli-US doctor and entrepreneur Prof. Jonathan Javitt and is developing two drugs - one for suicidal bipolar depression and a second for respiratory failure in the advanced and most difficult stages of Covid. Last month NRx complete a SPAC merger and listed on Nasdaq and is currently trading with a market cap of $637 million.
Similar to the AstraZeneca and J&J Covid vaccines, the BriLife vaccine (technical name VSV ΔG) is based on a previous, FDA-approved vaccine platform that was further optimized by IIBR and targeted towards Covid-19. Because BriLife™ is a self-propagating, live-virus vaccine, NRx anticipates rapid and affordable industrial scaleup and manufacturing. The vaccine will initially be delivered by traditional injection.
To date Israel has invested $175 million in developing the vaccine, which has been stuck in its Phase II trial due to its lack of commercial expertise. It is also now difficult to find volunteers for trials with most Israelis having already been vaccinated. Trials will also be conducted in Ukraine and Georgia.
In its collaboration with NRx, the IIBR will provide technical assistance, while receiving customary royalty and milestone payments for its intellectual property. NRx has further committed to supplying all required doses of the vaccine for the population of Israel.
Javitt said, "As the virus mutates and challenges the immunity we have built through first-generation vaccines, we are excited to expand our focus on COVID by including a vaccine platform that has potential to scale at high speed and low cost."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 13, 2021
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