Multinational biotech company Polaris signed an industry sponsored research agreement with UC Irvine’s (UCI) Vaccine Research and Development Center to fund “Fluvid,” a universal messenger RNA (mRNA) influenza and coronavirus vaccine. Polaris will use the vaccine technology to increase development of vaccines and cancer treatments with the goal being the first company to make mRNA technology more accessible in Taiwan.
“In Taiwan, there’s no company that knows anything about this technology and we want to be the first, we want to be the leader,” said Shaw Chen, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Polaris. “We are very fortunate that Dr. Felgner has agreed to help us, he is a world-renowned expert in this area.”
The agreement, negotiated through UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s Industry Sponsored Research team, includes UCI Faculty Phil Felgner, Ph.D., professor of Physiology and Biophysics at UCI’s School of Medicine and director of UCI’s Vaccine Research and Development Center, and Huw Davies, Ph.D., associate director of the Vaccine Research and Development Center.
Phil Felgner, Ph.D., professor of Physiology and Biophysics at UCI’s School of Medicine and director of UCI’s Vaccine Research and Development Center. Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI
“It is my hope that this partnership with Polaris will enable the translation of our mRNA vaccine research into clinical testing and development of new mRNA products, and elevate UCI to the forefront in vaccine science,” said Felgner.
The mRNA technology teaches the body how to create a protein by injecting genes that tell cells to produce proteins surrounding diseases like the COVID-19. It mimics the way a virus infects a cell and induces similar immune responses without risk of infection. According to Davies and Felgner, the mRNA vaccine discovery can be traced back more than 30 years ago when DNA and mRNA were first injected in live animals and the encoded proteins produced in animals.
“The spectacular efficacy of the mRNA vaccines combined with the rapidity with developing a new mRNA vaccine that is ready for clinical trials will change the way all vaccines will be developed in the future,” said Davies, principal investigator on the project.
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All Photos: Widen Collective/Steve Zylius/UCI