Gates Foundation awards $3.4 million for COVID-19 vaccine adjuvant

Gates Foundation awards $3.4 million for COVID-19 vaccine adjuvant

Dynavax Technologies, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing novel vaccines, has announced a $3.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to scale production of a vaccine adjuvant in support of the development of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The grant will enable Dynavax to increase production capacity of its CpG 1018 advanced adjuvant to up to seven hundred and fifty million doses annually and ensure its availability for partners working to develop adjuvanted vaccines for SARS-CoV-2.

An adjuvant is a pharmacological or immunological agent that boosts the amount of antibodies produced by a vaccine, resulting in longer-lasting immunity and minimizing the dose of antigen needed to produce that immunity. CpG 1018 is the adjuvant currently used in HEPLISAV-B [Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant), Adjuvanted], an adult hepatitis B vaccine.

"We believe adjuvants will play an important role in developing effective vaccines for COVID-19, including for those patients at greatest risk for severe disease," said Dynavax CEO Ryan Spencer. "The ability of CpG 1018 to potentially provide an improved immune response and also reduce the amount of vaccine antigen necessary will help provide more vaccine doses to meet the global need."

(Image credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases via Rawpixel)