Meriden facility to play role in coronavirus vaccine development

Meriden facility to play role in coronavirus vaccine development

MERIDEN — Early-stage work on a coronavirus vaccine will be done at Sanofi’s Protein Sciences facilities in New York and on Research Parkway in Meriden.

“The recombinant technology produces an exact genetic match to proteins found on the surface of the virus,” company spokesman Michael Szumera told the Times News Online. “The DNA sequence encoding this antigen will be combined into the DNA of the baculovirus expression platform, the basis of Sanofi’s licensed recombinant influenza product.”

The influenza product is known as Flublok, developed by Protein Sciences before it was sold to Sanofi in 2017.

Szumera said work on the coronavirus or COVID-19 vaccine will be done in Pearl River, New York, and Meriden. Work on the later stages may be done at a Pennsylvania facility.

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, will use previous work for a SARS vaccine developed by Protein Sciences to help develop the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a Sanofi announcement.

Sanofi has partnered with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

“Since there is a licensed vaccine based on this platform this will allow for research and materials to be produced relatively quickly for clinical testing,” according to the company statement. “Sanofi’s platform also has the potential to manufacture large quantities of the vaccine candidate.”

The technology used to develop and test Flubok should allow for relatively quick clinical testing and aid in producing large quantities of the coronavirus antigen, according to the statement.

Protein Sciences had about 100 employees at the Research Parkway facility at the time of the sale.
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