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VBI Vaccines (VBIV) Provides Updates on COVID-19 Vaccine

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VBI Vaccines Inc. (VBIV - Free Report) announced an update on the progress of its two vaccine candidates for COVID-19. The first one, VBI-2901, is a trivalent pan-coronavirus vaccine candidate expressing the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), SARS-CoV (SARS) and MERS-CoV (MERS) spike proteins while the second one, VBI-2902, is a monovalent vaccine candidate expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

In a preclinical hamster challenge study, VBI-2902, demonstrated robust immunogenicity and efficacy compared to placebo.

The company expects to initiate the first phase I/II study of VBI-2902 in Canada in the first quarter of 2021. The clinical study protocol has previously been positively reviewed by Health Canada.

Meanwhile, work is ongoing to further optimize and manufacture the company’s pan-coronavirus vaccine candidate, VBI-2901. The company expects to begin a phase I/II study later in 2021.

We note that the company was awarded up to CAD$56 million by the Strategic Innovation Fund of the Government of Canada, to be paid as retrospective reimbursement for eligible expenses incurred to support these studies.

VBI Vaccines’ shares have skyrocketed 104.8% in the past year compared with the industry’s growth of 12.7%.

VBI’s 3-antigen hepatitis B vaccine, Sci-B-Vac, is approved for use and commercially available in Israel. The vaccine recently completed its phase III program in the United States, Europe and Canada. The company also has an immunotherapeutic in development for a functional cure of chronic hepatitis B. VBI’s lead enveloped virus-like particle (eVLP) programs include a vaccine immunotherapeutic candidate targeting glioblastoma (GBM), a prophylactic cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine candidate and a prophylactic coronavirus vaccine program.

Given the alarming levels of spread and an urgent need for a vaccine, the FDA granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) /BioNTech’s (BNTX - Free Report) mRNA-based vaccine, BNT162b2, against COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age or older. The agency has also granted EUA to Moderna’s (MRNA - Free Report) COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273, in individuals 18 years of age or older.

VBI Vaccine currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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