Zabala Innovation participates in the RBDCOV project, which will test HIPRA’s vaccine against COVID 19
Horizon Europe is funding the initiative, which has a budget of 9 million euros and will be implemented over two and a half years
“RBD Dimer recombinant protein vaccine against SARSCoV2” (RBDCOV) is a new project, funded by the Horizon Europe programme, which is led by the biotech pharmaceutical company HIPRA. RBDCOV aims to test the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of HIPRA’s recombinant vaccine Covid-19 in children (including adolescents) and immunocompromised individuals. The trials will last two and a half years, and the project will have a budget of more than nine million euros.
Zabala Innovation leads the Communication and Dissemination of the project and collaborates in the Exploitation and Marketing Plan. The project is a communication challenge in the area of Health for ZABALA and joins other research and innovation projects such as SPIOMET4HEALTH and DOCTIS. RBDCOV is a strategic project for European innovation and seeks a global impact.
RBDCOV has an international consortium led by HIPRA and includes companies and institutions from five European countries: Spain (IRSICAIXA, FUNDACIO HOSPITAL UNIVERSITARI VALL D’HEBRON, FUNDACION FILS DE LUCHA CONTRA ELSIDA (FLS), IDIBAPS, IDIBGI, ASPHALION, VINCES CONSULTING, Zabala Innovation), United Kingdom (VERISTAT INTERNATIONAL), Italy (FONDAZIONE PENTA), Germany (EUROPEAN AIDS TREATMENT GROUP), and Turkey (METPHARM ARASTIRMA GELISTIRME SAGLIK DANISMANLIK).
Prolonging the protection of immunocompromised persons
The RDBCOV project foresees two clinical trials, one in a group of immune-compromised individuals and the second study in one or more groups of children and adolescents. The RBDCOV project will contribute to the development of the HIPRA vaccine which aims to protect against severe COVID including immunocompromised individuals and to ensure a long-term immune response. The project also aims to make the vaccine accessible for vaccination campaigns worldwide thanks to its preservation at 2-8°C degrees, which facilitates its storage and distribution.
The Covid-19 vaccine being developed by HIPRA is a recombinant adjuvanted protein vaccine based on a Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) fusion heterodimer containing the B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.351 (beta) variants of SARS-CoV-2. It will be stored at 2-8°C, which will facilitate logistics and distribution.
RBDCOV and the boost for innovation against COVID in Europe
The Horizon Europe Framework Programme is Europe’s largest research and innovation programme (2021-2027), and one of its priorities is to support urgent research on coronavirus and its variants. The European Commission has selected eleven projects involving 312 research teams from 40 countries. RBDCOV is one of the selected projects that will support clinical trials for a new vaccine that can reach beyond Europe’s borders by creating links with other European initiatives.
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation and Research, announced last year the approval of the RBDCOV project along with other 10 initiatives, stressing that investment in innovation is key to tackling the coronavirus crisis and strengthening current research infrastructures for the pandemic and future emergencies.
The Health knowledge area, key in the management of Horizon Europe
Laura Sesma, head of the Health Knowledge Area at ZABALA Innovation says: “RBDCOV will serve as a model on how to change the current paradigms of research and collaboration to promote a global and open science that delves into the interrelationships of the biological, environmental, social and economic dimensions of COVID and other diseases”.
“In this sense, RBDCOV focuses on vaccines bringing together the expertise of strong organisations in Europe (research groups, industry, clinicians, regulators, patients, advocacy groups) with the ultimate goal of enriching the current pipeline of vaccine candidates that could be the first recombinant vaccine approved in Europe,” adds Dr. Sesma.
Sesma also highlights how the RBDCOV proposal for a new vaccine was generated in record time: “For the first time, the knowledge and capabilities of internationally renowned key players in the field of animal and human vaccine research and development have been merged.