Lincoln company aims to develop “second generation” of COVID-19 vaccines
Adjuvance Technologies believes they can optimize COVID-19 vaccines with their adjuvant molecule.
Even as COVID-19 vaccines are being delivered and administered all over the world, companies are already planning development of the second generation of COVID vaccines.
Dr. Tyler Martin, who is the CEO of Adjuvance Technologies, says his company is already planning as if there will be a need for COVID-19 vaccines in the years to come. His vision is to eventually have a plant in Lincoln that will employ 60 people to produce adjuvants for vaccines.
“It’s our suspicion that COVID is not going to be a one-time problem, that this will be an ongoing problem that we’ll have to deal with,” Martin said. “While it’s great that we have these early vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer and people like that, we’re going to eventually need to have really optimized vaccines. That’s where we think we can play a role.”
One objective for future vaccines is for them to have fewer side effects.
“With some of the other vaccines, people are having fever, they don’t feel very well, the next day, they maybe have a sore arm,” Martin said. “Those are all the sort of things that we think we’ve engineered out of our adjuvant.”
All vaccines have two elements: an antigen, which is the target, and an adjuvant, which helps stimulate the target to create a response in the human body. Martin says the side effects that are commonly reported after one receives the vaccine are a function of power immune stimulation caused by the adjuvant in the vaccine.
So far, his adjuvant has only been tested on lab mice. Typically, mice lose weight after being immunized. This is because they do not feel well after the immunization, so they do not eat for a day or two. He has found that mice that have been tested with the adjuvant have responded well.
As much promise as the research has shown, Martin says that we should not expect the second wave of optimized vaccines for several years.
“There’s two places where this vaccine could could have a role,” Martin said. “Relatively soon, globally, or on a longer term basis in the Western countries.”