Scotland leads on potential Covid-19 vaccines and treatments

How the life sciences community in Scotland is mobilising and responding to the challenges arising from the Covid-19 environment – from research, drug discovery and manufacturing to clinical trials.

Collective response

Covid-19 and its devastating global impact has shone a spotlight on the continued importance of the life sciences sector both at home and internationally.

Over the past few months, we’ve witnessed unparalleled international collaboration between industry, government and academia in the search for a vaccine against the virus and the development of treatments to reduce the impact of infection. And innovative and specialist companies right here in Scotland have been central to that global effort, demonstrating their drug discovery and development expertise, not to mention their highly skilled workforce.

Covid-19 vaccines and treatments being developed in Scotland

Some impressive work is taking place in Scotland right now as part of the worldwide response to Covid-19 – from drug discovery and manufacturing to researching potential Covid-19 treatments. This critical work is highlighted by just a few examples here:

1. Valneva

We begin our journey in West Lothian. Valneva, a French speciality vaccine company, has started production of its promising Covid-19 vaccine (VLA2001) in parallel to ongoing phase one and two UK clinical trials, at its manufacturing site in Livingston, West Lothian.

VLA2001 is currently the only inactivated vaccine candidate in clinical trials against Covid-19 in Europe. Following a strong immunogenic response in phase 1/2 clinical trials across all dose groups tested, Valneva has moved to phase 3 of its vaccine trials and will seek regulatory approval, subject to clinical trial data towards the end of 2021.

More on Valneva's website

2. Reprocell

Heading west, the Japanese company, Reprocell, which has its Centre for Predictive Drug Discovery in Glasgow, is part of an international consortium, led by the Belgium company eTheRNA, to develop a novel mRNA vaccine against CoV-2. Reprocell is developing a clinical grade version of its StemFect™ product, a lipid-based formulation used to deliver RNA into human cells. 

Read more about Reprocell's work

3. Merck

Scotland-based contract research/manufacturing companies are also working with pharma partners to support the development and manufacture of potential Covid-19 vaccinesMerck, a global life science company, which has multiple sites in Scotland, is supporting several companies to develop vaccines by supplying key chemicals and providing crucial biosafety testing

4. SGS

Staying in Glasgow, safety, quality and analytical testing for the AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, AZD1222, is being conducted by SGS at its Biosafety Centre of Excellence in Glasgow. 

Read the full news release 

5. Symbiosis

As we take a trip into the heart of Scotland, Stirling-based Symbiosis Pharmaceutical Services, a specialist provider of pharmaceutical and vaccine development services, is also supporting manufacture of the AstraZeneca vaccine by providing fast-track access to sterile vaccine drug product manufacturing capacity for clinical trial supply.   

Read our full article

5. Ingenza

On the east coast, Edinburgh-based Ingenza is collaborating with the University of Oxford and CPI (a leading independent technology innovation centre and a founding member of the UK Government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapultto apply its expertise in sustainable and cost-effective biomanufacturing to potentially accelerate development of a Covid-19 vaccine. 

Read the full news release

6. TC BioPharm

Companies in Scotland are not only supporting vaccine development but are being innovative in approaches to the potential treatment of Covid-19-19. Glasgow-based TC BioPharm recently announced plans to initiate safety trials of its gamma-delta T cells (GDTs) in Covid-19 patients. GDTs are an experimental therapy designed to kill Covid-19 infected cells. 

Learn more about TC BioPharm

7. Novabiotics

Other companies developing novel therapeutics include Aberdeen-based Novabiotics who announced a rapid repurposing of its clinical-stage candidate Nylexa® (an antibiotic potentiator/resistance breaking agent) for secondary bacterial lung infections associated with Covid-19.

Read the full news release

8. Pneumagen

Meanwhile, Pneumagen in St Andrews also recently secured investment to support progression of its lead candidate Neumifil™, a first-in-class Carbohydrate Binding Modules (mCBMs), into a clinical trial for Covid-19. 

Read the full news release

Science is at the forefront of finding solutions to this global pandemic. The contribution of companies in Scotland to Covid-19 vaccine/therapeutic research is a great example of how the thriving sector here can support international drug discovery and development projects.

Find partners and suppliers

With more than 150 specialist supply chain companies, employing more than 6000 skilled people, Scotland is well-placed to provide innovative and expert solutions to pharma/biotech companies globally.

From diagnostics to therapeutics, the Scottish Life and Chemical Sciences Directory is your gateway to over 1000 companies and organisations in Scotland.

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