Woman looking at a test tube.

© iStock/yacobchuk

A vaccine project funded by the EXIST programme initiated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is developing a second generation Covid-19 vaccine. The “Prime Vector Technologies - PVT” start-up from Tübingen is engaged in a successful demonstration of Germany’s scientific capabilities. This new generation of vaccines directly addresses the most common SARS-CoV-2 variants. In addition to stimulating the strongest and broadest possible antibody-based immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it creates specific T-cells. This also increases the protection against potential virus mutations. Another goal stated for the new vaccine generation is to provide a suitable booster immunisation when the antibody response drops in COVID-19 patients or immunised people.

Federal Minister Altmaier is delighted by the latest stage of the development of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and explains: “Germany and its Prime Vector Technologies vaccine project funded by EXIST is at the forefront of development of second-generation vaccines. We are very pleased with this, because research and innovation are crucial in the fight against COVD-19”.

With a further increase of €18 million, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is supporting the start-up project as it tests the vaccine candidate in humans in the first two clinical phases. The licensing process for the PVT vaccine candidate could start at the end of 2021.

Professor Dr Peter Kremsner, a renowned expert and head of an EU vaccine study at Tübingen University Hospital welcomed the polyvalent COVID-19 vaccine, saying: “The introduction by the EXIST spin-off PVT of this vaccine candidate strengthens the position of Tübingen University Hospital as one of the world centres for COVID-19 vaccine development.” The new vaccine is also at the centre of international attention. A South East Asian pharmaceutical company, for instance, would be very interested in acquiring a licence for it and starting large-scale vaccine production in 2021. To supply the German population, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has already secured a licence-free provision of PVT vaccine doses.

For the last 20 years, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been successfully using the “EXIST– Business start-ups in science” programme to fund start-up spin-offs from German universities and science.

For further information about the funding programmes click here.