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Our "DAVi" Approach

Guiding Next-Gen Coronavirus Vaccine Development Strategy

The biopharmaceutical industry successfully and rapidly rose to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering highly effective vaccines in record time.

However, by the summer of 2021, many experts concluded that the COVID crisis is likely to be endemic to many regions around the world, requiring ongoing management and responsiveness. As a result, numerous unmet vaccination needs remain:

  • Capability and capacity to address SARS-CoV-2 variants for years to come
  • Robust durability via generation of memory T cells
  • Removing global barriers to access, including the high costs of many of the first-generation vaccines and cold-chain logistical challenges
  • “Fear of the needle” and other patient hesitancy

It is within this context that we initiated work on vaccine designs that might overcome some of the challenges associated with the first-generation vaccines that target only the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.  In particular, we seek to design and develop a second-gen vaccine that addresses the current Durability, Access, and Variant-inclusion [DAVi] challenges we still face.


Targeting antigens and adjuvants for long lasting protection


Exploring alternative routes of administration


Seeking protection against a broad spectrum of variants, potentially a pan-coronavirus vaccine

Overlap in the middle of this venn diagram:


leaf cutout shapes, 2 small blue leaves and one with image of zoomed in protein

IBIO-202 Design

  • needle with liquid

    Subunit vaccine candidate targeting the nucleocapsid (N) protein of SARS-CoV-2

    The N-protein:

    • is abundantly expressed during infection
    • contains immunogenic epitopes
    • is more highly conserved than the S protein among the viral variants – new viral variants may be less likely to escape vaccine protection if vaccines include conserved sequences.1,2,3,4
    • is significantly more effective than S protein in stimulating antibody-dependent natural killer cell activation, a critical element of the adaptive immune response that the SARS-CoV-2 virus attempts to evade5
  • line icon - group of five people

    Adjuvanted to potentially allow for greater immunogenicity and/or dose sparing

  • An “N-only” vaccine may be highly complementary to existing first-generation, S protein–directed vaccines

  • line icon - two vials

    Prospectively suitable for delivery via routes other than intramuscular injection

  • line icon - earth

    The antigen is produced in our rapidly scalable FastPharming System

We recently filed four provisional patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office related to the IBIO-202 program. 

  1. Zhao, P. et al. Immune responses against SARS-coronavirus nucleocapsid protein induced by DNA vaccine. Virology 331, 128–135 (2005).
  2. Oliveira, S. C., de Magalhães, M. T. Q. & Homan, E. J. Immunoinformatic Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid Protein and Identification of COVID-19 Vaccine Targets. Front. Immunol. 11, (2020).
  3. Dutta, N. K., Mazumdar, K. & Gordy, J. T. The Nucleocapsid Protein of SARS–CoV-2: A Target for Vaccine Development. Journal of Virology 94, (2020).
  4. Dai, L. & Gao, G. F. Viral targets for vaccines against COVID-19. Nature Reviews Immunology 21, 73–82 (2021).
  5. Fielding CA, Sabberwal P, Williamson JC, Greenwood EJD, Crozier TWM, Zelek W, Seow J, Graham C, Huettner I, Edgeworth JD, Morgan BP, Ladell K, Eberl M, Humphreys IR, Merrick B, Doores K, Wilson SJ Lehner PJ, Wang ECY, Stanton RJ. ADNKA overcomes SARS-CoV2-mediated NK cell inhibition through non-spike antibodies. bioRxiv, (April 2021).