Pharma research firm APC partners to develop Covid-19 vaccine

Irish company working with Australian vaccine developer Vaxine on new candidate

Irish pharmaceutical research company APC has partnered with an Australian biotech firm to accelerate the development and launch of a vaccine for coronavirus.

The pharmaceutical research company, which designs, develops and markets proprietary engineering platform technologies that reduce the time, cost and risk in the development of medicines, is teaming up with Vaxine Pty, an Adelaide-headquartered vaccine developer which spun out of the National Health Sciences Centre in Canberra.

Vaxine has developed a broad range of candidates that use its proprietary Advax technology including vaccines against seasonal and pandemic influenza, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile Virus, malaria and rabies.

The Australian company has partnered with several companies recently to progress its novel Covax-19 vaccine, which uses Advax combined with a recombinant Sars-CoV-2 spike protein. The vaccine is in its last phase of non-clinical animal testing, with clinical trials planned for the fourth quarter and a product launch set for early 2021.


"Never before has the combination of novel vaccine and processing sciences been so important to the world," said APC chief executive Dr Mark Barrett.

APC, which works with many of the world's leading pharma and biotech companies, was founded by Dr Barrett and Prof Brian Glennon as a spin-out from UCD's school of chemical and bioprocess engineering in 2011.

Engineering platform technologies

Based in Cherrywood, Co Dublin, the company employs 130 people, most of whom are chemical engineers, process and biopharmaceutical scientists. It has developed two engineering platform technologies, Achieve and BioAchieve, for troubleshooting research and manufacturing issues and improving the design of chemical and biopharmaceutical compounds.

“Through this strategic partnership APC and Vaxine signify our collective intent to combine the latest innovation in Covid-19 vaccine technology, and processing sciences, BioAchieve, to accelerate the development and launch of Vaxine’s novel Covax-19 vaccine,” he added

In addition to the Covid-19 vaccine candidate, APC is working on over medicines for a variety of cancers, respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and HIV at its 60,000sq ft facility.

The company was previously shortlisted for The Irish Times Innovation Awards, while Dr Barrett is also a former finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist