A Vaccine Designed to Generate a Targeted and Sustained Protection Against COVID-19

Based on our previous clinical data in oncology and infectious diseases, DPX-COVID-19 has the potential to improve the duration of the immune response and protect older adults and more vulnerable individuals

Click on the picture to watch the report broadcast on CTV News on April 29, 2020

* Peptide epitopes are information molecules that can very precisely direct immune responses toward specific areas exposed on the surface of the virus.

Dr. Marianne Stanford, VP Research & Development holding vials of the vaccine candidate.

A Vaccine Designed to Protect the Most Vulnerable

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, researchers at IMV quickly transitioned from working in cancer research to focusing on a COVID-19 vaccine.
The biotech firm now has received positive feedback from Health Canada to include older adults of 56 years and above in its clinical studies.

Click on the picture to watch the interview on CTV News on July 16, 2020

DPX-COVID-19 At-a-Glance

A Multi-Target Approach Based On Our DPX Platform

DPX-COVID-19 utilizes a multi-target approach, to optimize immune response against virus’ weaknesses, enhance efficacy at preventing infection and reduce potential for immune escape, even in case of a virus mutation.

Potential for Fast and Large-scale Manufacturing

  • Fully synthetic, DPX-COVID-19 has the potential for fast and large-scale manufacturing to supply a significant number of doses rapidly compared to more conventional vaccines.

A large Phase 1/2 study to expedite later-stage development

Allied with Renowned Experts

The Research Centre on Infectious Diseases at the University Laval in Quebec City

  • Some of our pre-clinical studies in animal models are run in collaboration with Dr. Gary Kobinger.
View CRI

The Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN)

  • CIRN will perform Phase 1 Clinical studies.
  • Dr. Joanne Langley and Dr. Scott Halperin from the Canadian Center for Vaccinology (CCfV) in Halifax, NS.
  • McGill Health Center (MUHC) in Montreal, QC.

Frequently Asked Questions

When did IMV start working on the development of a vaccine against COVID-19?

As soon as the detailed genomic and proteomic sequences of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) were made available at the end of February 2020.

When did IMV announce the development of a vaccine against COVID-19?

IMV made an official announcement on March 18 in a press release when the top peptide epitopes were successfully identified and selected for development and has provided updates in a second press release issued on March 30. On May 21, 2020, the Company has announced the selection of its vaccine candidate in a press release.

How was IMV's vaccine designed?

The Company has used sequences of the virus and immunoinformatics to predict and identify several hundred epitopes, of which 23 were selected for their biological relevance to the virus and potential to generate neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

Peptide epitopes are information molecules that can direct our immune system against targeted areas exposed on the surface of a virus. There are typically thousands of epitopes on viruses, but few have the potential to effectively neutralize and prevent the infection. IMV’s researchers utilized predicted epitopes from the literature and selected peptide epitopes representing the most promising immunological “Achilles heel” of the coronavirus.

IMV has formulated selected peptide epitopes with its DPX platform which has a unique mechanism of action and activates a targeted and sustained immune response. The benefit of this targeted and prolonged delivery is a potential increase in safety and efficacy by exclusively focusing the attack of the immune system onto the spike proteins of the virus.

IMV’s selected vaccine candidate is designed to target non-overlapping neutralizing epitopes with the potential to act synergistically on 3 different key mechanisms of infection of the virus (see the picture above).

DPX-COVID-19 utilizes a multi-target approach, to optimize immune response against virus’ weaknesses, enhance efficacy at preventing infection, and reduce the potential for immune escape, even in case of a virus mutation.

What is the difference between IMV’s DPX-based vaccine and traditional vaccines?

The DPX platform is formulated with small peptides that are present at the surface of the virus. DPX-COVID-19 has the potential to generate a targeted and sustained immune response against these peptides and eliminate the virus with expected limited side effects. It has the potential to be used widely, including aged adults and people with weakened immune systems and long-term health problems.

Conventional vaccines typically use the whole virus (live-attenuated or inactivated) to trigger an immune response. Since viruses have a complex structure, it is difficult to know which elements generate the immune response. Conventional vaccines have some limitations and may induce unwanted immune-related side effects, especially in people with weakened immune systems, long-term health problems, or people who’ve had an organ transplantii.

The benefit of a targeted and prolonged approach is a potential increase in safety and efficacy by exclusively focusing the attack of the immune system onto the weaknesses of the virus.

Why is it easy and fast to produce DPX-COVID-19?

All DPX-based therapies are fully synthetic, which means that there are no biologic components in the formulation and does not require any biologic manufacturing processes.

When are pre-clinical studies planned?

Pre-clinical assays in animal models have started in April to select the best candidates and validate the safety and potency. Other preclinical assays are ongoing to further characterize the vaccine candidate and its mechanism of action. GLP toxicology and challenge studies are required to advance into Phase 1/2 studies and have been ongoing since mid-August.

What is IMV's clinical strategy?

In consultation with Health Canada, IMV decided to combine its original Phase 1 and 2 studies into a single trial with the potential to accelerate the clinical development and the timeline of the overall project. In collaboration with its lead investigators for the Phase 1/2 clinical study, Joanne Langley, MD, and Scott Halperin, MD, of the Canadian Center for Vaccinology, the design of this larger study will incorporate the same two-age strata cohorts (18-55 years old and over 55 years old) as originally designed.

How will these studies be funded?

The Company has submitted several grant applications in Canada to get non dilutive support for its clinical program.

As part of the Government of Canada’s continuing support for the development of domestic COVID-19 vaccines, the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) is providing advisory services and funding to support the continuation of clinical trials for IMV’s DPX-COVID-19 vaccine candidate. IMV has also received funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen).

The total DPX-COVID19 funding secured by IMV from different governmental sources to date is approximately $10M. 

What is IMV large-scale manufacturing strategy?

To increase its current manufacturing capacity, IMV has entered a collaboration with a global manufacturing partner and initiated transfer and scale-up activities of DPX-COVID-19. This collaboration has the potential to bring two additional production sites in India and Europe with the capacity to produce several hundred million doses of DPX-COVID-19.