Every minute, three children die somewhere in the world because they don’t have access to effective vaccines. Many vaccines, particularly those based on viruses, require refrigerated transport and storage facilities. The cold chain must not be interrupted, otherwise the vaccines will spoil and lose their efficacy. Such vaccines include the measles vaccine and many vaccines developed for tropical diseases.
“The vaccines are there, but the problem is that they no longer work once they are delivered to people,” says Manlio Fusciello, Globevac’s project coordinator from the Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences at the University of Helsinki.
The problem particularly affects developing countries in Africa and elsewhere.
“In spite of the high cost, the West has the ability to organise the necessary logistics.”
Globevac aims to solve the problem associated with the shelf life of vaccines and make vaccines available to all children. The technical solution developed in the project enables the modification of existing vaccines to retain their efficacy at all temperatures.
“In addition to viral vector vaccines, the solution may also be suitable for, for example, mRNA vaccines.”
The technical solution developed by Globevac promotes, for example, humanitarian vaccination campaigns organised in regions where the cold chain cannot be maintained.
“We hope that this solution will help children everywhere in the world obtain vaccines for measles, tetanus and other diseases covered by primary immunisation programmes, and that common paediatric diseases could be eradicated,” Fusciello says.
In addition, the solution helps reduce vaccination costs. At the moment, 80% of the costs are generated by transport and storage. Globevac’s solution can bring substantial vaccine-related savings in wealthy countries, too.
“For instance, the viral vector Covid-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson cost roughly €4 per vaccine. The immunisation of all Europeans twice would cost €2 billion, of which the share of transport and storage costs is 80%. If our solution helps preserve vaccines without a cold chain, we can be looking at billions in savings per year in just this one case.”
The solution will also benefit producers.
“Globevac can be a breakthrough solution for vaccine producers as well.”
The technical solution developed by Globevac is inexpensive and durable, and founded on solid research in virology and immunology as well as cell research.
“Basic research is at the heart of all development, since the only way to determine whether a vaccine works is to investigate whether the immune system responds to it,” Fusciello says.
Globevac is a project carried out by the ImmunoViroTherapy Lab active at the Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, University of Helsinki. The research group has over 20 years of experience in oncological virotherapies and gene therapies.
“We have the experience and expertise to assess the true potential of Globevac.”
Globevac received Research to Business commercialisation funding from Business Finland in 2021 to enable preclinical trials for the next two years.
GlobeVAC is a project which was born 5 years ago in the ImmunoViroTherapy laboratory (IVTlab) lead by Professor Vincenzo Cerullo at Faculty of Pharmacy at University of Helsinki. During the years the project proceeded creating a sustainable and affordable way to preserve cancer vaccines mainly with a potential for viral based vaccine to eradicate children disease in poor countries avoiding the need of the cold chain. The idea of Professor Vincenzo Cerullo was to find a way to store and ship viruses avoiding them to get inactivated due to unfavorable temperature and climate changes conditions.
Lately during the pandemic with the clear need for the world to overcome the problem of the cold chain and storing conditions of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, the Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd. underlined the impact of our technology and suggested us to apply to Business Finland for a Research to Business funding.
Business Finland decided to fund the IVTlab for 2 years in which university researchers will confirm and strengthen the proof of concept and move soon to preclinical data. Thanks to this funding the IVT team benefits of important resources to acquire pivotal collaborations with expert in the field of biomolecules preservation Professor Kirsi Mikkonen and Dr. Fabio Valoppi and the field of virology Dr. Giuseppe Balistreri. From this joint effort among those University of Helsinki top researchers, GlobeVAC aims to develop a technology able to store and preserve vaccines without temperature restrictions.
Children all over the world cannot be immunised against common diseases because many viral vector vaccines require an uninterrupted cold chain.
Globevac is developing a technical solution that can be used to modify existing vaccines to maintain their efficacy at all temperatures.
In addition to promoting children’s health the world over, the solution will generate significant savings in immunisation and a novel technique for vaccine producers to utilise. Globevac is currently in the preclinical trial phase.
Are you looking to become a collaboration partner or funder, or are you otherwise interested in hearing more about this innovation?Globevac is seeking large pharmaceutical companies involved in vaccine production as investors, as well as foundations and organisations involved in humanitarian work and children’s healthcare.
Vincenzo Cerullo, professor, research group leader, email@example.com, +358 50 318 5754