Baylor College collaborates with BEL to develop COVID-19 vaccine

Hyderabad: Baylor College of Medicine and Biological E. Limited (BEL) today announced a licensing agreement for the development of a safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccine.  BE, an India-based company, has licensed the recombinant protein COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed at Baylor.

The company engaged in license negotiations with the BCM Ventures team, part of Baylor College of Medicine, after initial discussions on Baylor’s technology and how it could possibly inform a vaccine to address the current global pandemic. The company will leverage its past experience for the further development and commercialization of the vaccine candidate, which currently is produced using a proven yeast-based expression technology.

“This week’s information that India has become the third-leading nation in terms of COVID-19 cases has sparked concern that corona will become widespread and a serious and deadly infection across the crowded urban areas of South Asia,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor and co-director of Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development. “This is why this agreement is timely.” 

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“For the past two decades, our vaccine center has been advancing global health vaccines to prevent neglected and emerging diseases,” said Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, Associate Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor and co-director of Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development. “We are therefore well suited to embark on this important collaboration with BE and look forward to facilitating the technology transfer for the COVID-19 vaccine to India and for the world.”

The current focus is on transfer of the technology for BE to initiate scale-up of the manufacturing process and undertake further development of the vaccine candidate.

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“BE is pleased to be a part of the global scientific effort aimed at exploring ways to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership with Baylor would help accelerate the development of an affordable vaccine, especially for India and other low- and middle-income nations,” said Mahima Datla, managing director of BE.

“We look forward to leveraging our capabilities for the development and manufacturing of this much needed vaccine. If the vaccine development is successful, we expect to make several hundred million doses of the vaccine available annually,” said Narender Dev Mantena, Director of BioE Holdings Inc., who heads BE’s novel vaccine initiative.

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