By making smart use of existing cancer treatment technology, myNEO's COVID-19 vaccine aims to achieve long-term protection in more than 80% of the global population. To do this, the start-up, supported by Start it @KBC, is developing a carefully chosen cocktail of peptides – pieces of protein that are essential for the virus – in order to initiate a highly targeted immune response.
This approach offers several advantages over the use of a complete virus. By specifically choosing fragments that are essential to the virus, the vaccine has a better chance of working against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for COVID-19), MERS, as well as any potential future forms of the same virus family with the same components.
Now that the biotech start-up has identified these promising COVID-19 peptides, myNEO is starting preclinical trials in collaboration with a European biotech company with a cancer vaccine technology. The goal is to test the vaccine on humans in early 2021.