Warehouse where plants are grown

Our Discovery Pipeline

Vaccines for infectious diseases with major public health needs

Our discovery pipeline includes vaccines targeting COVID-19 and influenza

Commencement of Phase I clinical trials for our COVID-19 vaccine candidate was announced in December 2020. The COVID-19 vaccine will be our second program entering clinical trials. In June 2020, KBP launched a Phase 1 study with a seasonal influenza (QIV) vaccine candidate.

 

Our Discovery Pipeline

 

Placing samples into test tubes

Pandemic Preparedness

We have a strong history of using our plant-based manufacturing technology to respond to international infectious disease outbreaks. We received international media attention for our role manufacturing an Ebola treatment called ZMapp™ alongside California-based Mapp Biopharmaceuticals, and for our partnership with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

 

ZMapp™ was comprised of an experimental cocktail of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). It was authorized for compassionate use under FDA Expanded Access provisions in less than one year from receipt by KBP of the antibody sequence. ZMapp™ was also authorized for use by FDA in a controlled clinical study in Africa as part of the response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

A Case Study: Seasonal influenza vaccines

Microscope with sample

The issue

Public health officials annually predict which flu strains will be most prevalent in the coming flu season. The vast majority of flu vaccine manufacturers then create antigens – a substance that produces an immune response – from these predicted flu strains and inject them into chicken eggs where they incubate and reproduce over several months. This system is widely used around the world and has been approved by the FDA for decades.

Our process

Warehouse where plants are grown

We engineer genetic constructs for viral antigens from influenza strains. Alongside this, we also prepare a modified form of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus – a plant-virus which is non-infective to humans.

Plant leaf being placed under microscope

From there, we insert the genetic constructs for the antigens and the modified TMV separately into the Nicotiana benthamiana plants. The plants then express the antigens and the TMV we use to create our vaccines.

Lab technicians working

After about a week of incubation, we extract the antigens for the vaccine and the TMV separately from the plants. The antigens and TMV are chemically joined to create the drug substance. This process has the potential to give our vaccine many unique properties including stability at room temperatures.