Ardigen, a Polish artificial intelligence and bioinformatics company, boasts a “neoantigen prediction platform” called ArdImmune Vax. The company’s efforts have mainly focused on cancer vaccines by using AI models to predict functional T-cell responses.
Today the company announced they’re using their technology in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine via a new partnership with New Zealand CVC (COVID-19 Vaccine Corporation) a new startup opened in May of this year.
“CVC is excited to be working with Ardigen who are at the forefront of T-cell epitope design.” said Robert Feldman, CEO and Co-founder of CVC. “The collaboration gives us the best chance of our product inducing an effective T-cell response against SARS-Cov-2.”
Ardigen describes their technique as a kind of immunity design. Their platform uses machine learning to generate, test, and select the best antigens all within computational models. Their clinical operations unit houses a network of datasets including data over more than 2,500 patients and 5 million novel bacterial genes.
These neoantigens are tested in AI simulations to optimize for targeting of cancer vaccines. With AI models, the typically slow and error-prone pace of cancer vaccines is greatly accelerated. The company believes the platform will work well with infectious diseases broadly and will be put to the test in CVC’s COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are thrilled to help global efforts to mitigate COVID-19 applying our breakthrough technology powered by Artificial Intelligence, reducing the vaccine design phase to a few weeks” said Ardigen CEO Janusz Homa.
Back in May, CVC announced $488,000 in funding from the COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund and $1 million from private investment, including $7 million in optional funding for completion of a clinical trial.
Unlike many manufacturers in the news, CVC does not aim for a speedy timeline but does expect to compete with a greater response rate and more cost-effective production using a locally developed “biobead” technology. Their vaccine is estimated to complete the first phase of human testing by the end of 2021.
Biobeads are a technology developed by NZ based PolyMatics. The technology creates nanoscopic and biodegradable polymer “beads” with attached functional proteins. Vaccines are one such application of the technology and aim to reduce cost and increase functionality over traditional vaccines.