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2021-12-01| ChinaCOVID-19

After Raising $300 Million, China’s Abogen Hunkers Down on mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine with GenScript and Walvax

by Joy Lin
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Founded in 2019, Suzhou Abogen Biosciences quickly established itself as one of the few companies in China to develop a homegrown mRNA Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The company is hoping to replicate the success Moderna and BioNTech had with their mRNA vaccines, with the help of Walvax Biotechnology and GenScript ProBio.

In its latest funding round, Abogen raised $300 million to speed up development of its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The company announced further on Tuesday that it is working with Walvax Biotechnology and GenScript ProBio on commercial production of its shot. 

The $300 million round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund and 5Y Capital, with participation from Chimera Abu Dhabi, Fortune Ocean and Mirae Asset Financial Group. 

Taking into account the $720 million raised in Series C in August, Abogen has raised over $1 billion to fund its vaccine and other projects.

 

Abogen, Walvax Collaboration Expands with GenScript

Under the new collaboration, Walvax will file a BLA of the vaccine candidate to the NMPA, China’s drug regulatory body. Meanwhile, GenScript will handle the production of the plasmid component of the shot. 

Abogen is already collaborating with Walvax to manufacture its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, which was originally discovered by China’s top military research institute. 

The shot was cleared for clinical trials in June by the NMPA, while Abogen secured additional permission from authorities in Mexico, Indonesia and Nepal. To date, Abogen is conducting Phase 3 trials in the four countries, with plans to expand trials to more countries. 

Earlier in November, Bloomberg reported that Abogen and Walvax’s vaccine will be tested in China as a booster shot in adults who have been fully immunized with other approved vaccines. 

The developments could accelerate the approval process of the vaccine candidate. If approved, it will become China’s first homegrown mRNA Covid-19 shot, giving it a commercial advantage over the mRNA vaccines developed by Moderna and BioNTech, which have yet to be approved. 

Another factor that sets Abogen and Walvax’s mRNA vaccine apart from its Western counterparts is its ability to be stored at higher temperatures (room temperature for up to a week, or at 2-8°C for six months.) 

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