Hipra is confident that there will be demand in the European Union for its Covid-19 vaccine, in the experimental phase, once its use is approved, since, in addition to being designed to protect against new variants, it can be easily transferred and produced in large quantities. amounts, according to the vice president of the company.
Hipra, a Spanish pharmaceutical company specialized in vaccines for veterinary use for some 50 years, hopes to start producing its own Covid-19 vaccine – which is in phase 2 of its clinical trial – in the first half of 2022, a Once you receive authorization from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Elia Torroella, vice president and head of research and development at Hipra, told Reuters in an interview that she is confident that the vaccine will be effective against the new omicron variant, as it has shown protection in trials against all known strains of the coronavirus, although did not give details.
“It is a vaccine that already includes variants (of the coronavirus),” said Torroella. “In the antigen sequence of this vaccine there are already variants already included and therefore we have good prospects of being able to cover future variants.”
In mid-November, the drug regulatory body in Spain authorized Hipra to carry out phase 2 trials of its vaccine, which uses a recombinant protein like that of the American manufacturer Novavax, which is being reviewed by the EMA.
But Torroella believes that the production of Novavax will be more complicated, as it used a less stable whole spicular protein compared to Hipra’s two-piece protein.
Hipra foresees a production capacity of 600 million doses next year and double in 2023.
“Some European countries are asking for recombinant protein vaccines, we believe there is a need there and our vaccine can play an important role,” said Torroella at the Hipra headquarters.
He added that the Hipra vaccine could be a “very universal vaccine,” since it could be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius, more moderate temperatures than is needed for other major vaccines.
EU authorities have bought vaccine supplies for the next two years, but Torroella said Hipra believes there is sufficient demand and expects “maximum” support at the Spanish and European level.
To date, Hipra has closed a 50 million dose purchase agreement with Vietnam, where it is also conducting tests.
The Spanish government has been a key support for what would be the first Spanish vaccine against Covid-19, contributing 4 million euros for clinical trials, and it is expected to give another 15 million through loans and grants, said Torroella.
Hipra operates in more than 100 countries and its turnover reached 319 million euros in 2020.
● A report by Joan Faus; with additional information from Horaci García; edited by Andrei Khalip and Mark Heinrich