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HSCI Invests 45 Million Roubles in the Development of COVID-19 Vaccines

Human Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) is investing RUB 45 million in its subsidiary Betuvaks LLC to develop and introduce new vaccines against coronavirus.

HSCI’s Board of Directors approved an investment loan agreement with its subsidiary Betuvaks LLC for a total amount of RUB 45 million intended for the development and launch of COVID-19 vaccines. The funds will be used to complete preclinical studies, produce batches for the start of clinical trials and develop a generation of vaccine candidates, including those against new strains of coronavirus.

Currently, Betuvaks LLC is at the stage of completing preclinical studies of a vaccine candidate for the prevention of a new coronavirus infection and preparing documents for obtaining permission from the Ministry of Health to conduct clinical trials.

The original biological product «Betuvaks-CoV» developed by Betuvaks LLC is a new class vaccine based on virus-like nanoparticles that mimic the outer envelope of the SARS-CoV virus, and trains the immune system to produce antibodies necessary to neutralize and eliminate the virus from the body. At the same time, the vaccine itself does not carry genetic material (unlike vaccines such as adenovirus or mRNA-based ones) and is potentially safer, since it does not carry the risks of short-term and long-term side effects.

Most of the coronavirus vaccines under development and currently in use do not take into account the need for booster vaccinations. The Betuvaks CoV vaccine can be used for repeated vaccinations.

According to Artur Isaev, Chairman of the Board of Directors of HSCI: “The studies already conducted have shown good results in terms of efficiency and safety. Therefore, we decided to finance the next stage of preparation for clinical trials within the framework of vaccine registration. Our goal was to work out all possible risks in a calm but fast mode and make the vaccine as safe as possible, without significant side effects such as high fever and other effects. This is important, since the vaccine is planned to be used not for treatment, but for the prevention. The medical community and consumers are looking for a vaccine with a high safety profile. In addition, there is a goal — to achieve not only immunity, but also a longer-lasting protection and the possibility of repeated use of the vaccine after a year, as well as the absence of risks of long-term consequences.»

Clinical trials of Betuvaks-CoV will begin after obtaining a permission from the Ministry of Health, which the company expects to receive by the end of the first quarter of 2021.