EMERYVILLE, Calif., July 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Amyris, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMRS), a leading synthetic biotechnology company in Clean Health and Beauty markets and IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute) today announce the signing of a binding term sheet for a planned COVID-19 RNA (ribonucleic acid) vaccine technology program. The program combines IDRI’s expertise in combating infectious diseases with Amyris’ fermentation platform technology, with the goal to create semi-synthetic squalene-based adjuvants at scale. IDRI’s RNA vaccine platform is expected to offer significant differentiated advantages over other RNA vaccines currently in development and will be further enhanced by a scalable Amyris adjuvant.
The Critical Role of Adjuvants in Vaccines
Adjuvants are added to vaccines as an excipient to enhance their effectiveness and are typically sourced from shark-based squalene, a non-sustainable and non-scalable resource. Amyris’ fermentation technology, which replaces shark-derived squalene with lower cost sugarcane-derived squalene, is capable of delivering greater availability facilitating access to adjuvants by large parts of the population. Amyris’ squalene is targeted to be functionally identical to shark-based squalene and will be certified as such as one of the last steps to commercialization.
“The combination of IDRI’s leading RNA vaccine platform technology combined with Amyris’ sustainably-derived adjuvant has the potential to lead on efficacy for a COVID-19 vaccine solution and potentially play a major role in other vaccine solutions to help mitigate potential future pandemics,” said IDRI’s CEO Dr. Corey Casper. “Without adjuvants, vaccines are not maximally effective, and a shortage of existing shark-based adjuvant supply could prove devastating in the future, underlining the importance of this anticipated partnership.”
“We are pleased to partner with IDRI to combat COVID-19 and deliver a significant breakthrough for vaccine technology into the future,” said John Melo, Amyris President and CEO. “We believe synthetic biology can play a significant role in scaling vaccines and therapies that meet the needs of global health crises. Making the world’s rarest chemistry available and affordable has been Amyris’ purpose since its founding in 2003. Soon after its founding Amyris partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and created an alternative supply source through fermentation for artemisinin, a first-line treatment for malaria that is still recommended by the World Health Organization today. Many organizations are working toward a COVID-19 vaccine solution, with uncertain outcomes. IDRI’s expertise in vaccines combined with our leading synthetic biology platform presents a real opportunity to deliver the most scalable and highest efficacy vaccine for COVID-19. We are focused on a second-generation solution that is better performing and can deliver a sustainable platform for vaccines to address future pandemics. We expect first commercial supply of our leading vaccine adjuvant by the end of this year and, assuming successful trials, could have a successful vaccine platform next year.”
Amyris and IDRI anticipate executing a comprehensive agreement after which additional details of the proposed program will be disclosed. In the interim, work on advancing the vaccine is continuing to ensure accelerated time to market.
Amyris (Nasdaq: AMRS) is a science and technology leader in the research, development and production of sustainable ingredients for the Clean Health & Beauty and Flavors & Fragrances markets. Amyris uses an impressive array of exclusive technologies, including state-of-the-art machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence. Our ingredients are included in over 3,000 products from the world’s top brands, reaching more than 200 million consumers. Amyris is proud to own three consumer brands – all built around its No Compromise® promise of clean ingredients: Biossance™ clean beauty skincare, Pipette™ clean baby skincare and Purecane™, a zero-calorie sweetener naturally derived from sugarcane. For more information, please visit www.amyris.com.
As a nonprofit global health organization, IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute) takes a comprehensive approach to combat infectious diseases and cancer, combining the high-quality science of a research organization with the product development capabilities of a biotech company to create vaccines and therapeutics. IDRI combines passion for improving human health with the understanding that it is not just what our scientists know about disease, but what we do to change its course that will have the greatest impact. Founded in 1993, IDRI has 55 employees headquartered in Seattle with more than 100 partners/collaborators around the world. For more information, visit www.idri.org.
This release contains forward-looking statements, and any statements other than statements of historical fact could be deemed to be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements regarding the signature of a definitive agreement between Amyris and IDRI, advantages of IDRI’s RNA vaccine platform, enhancement of IDRI’s RNA vaccine platform resulting from Amyris’ adjuvant, purpose of adjuvants, potential qualities and relative cost of Amyris’ sugarcane-derived squalene as compared to shark-based squalene, availability of shark squalene supply, capacity of Amyris’ adjuvant to facilitate people’s access to vaccines, the degree of shared functionality between shark-based squalene and Amyris’ sugarcane-derived squalene, the efficacy, performance, sustainability and scalability of the IDRI vaccine platform when combined with Amyris’ sugarcane-derived squalene, impact of squalene supply limitations on vaccine solutions, execution of a comprehensive agreement, outcome of project to develop a IDRI-Amyris vaccine solution, plans to commercialize the vaccine solution, and ability of the project’s vaccine solution to reach the market on an accelerated basis. These statements are based on management’s current expectations, and actual results and future events may differ materially due to risks and uncertainties, including risks related to Amyris’ liquidity and ability to fund operating and capital expenses, risks related to potential delays or failures in development, production and commercialization of products, risks related to Amyris’ reliance on third parties, and other risks detailed from time to time in filings Amyris makes with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. Amyris disclaims any obligation to update information contained in these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
Amyris, the Amyris logo, No Compromise, Biossance, Pipette, and Purecane are trademarks or registered trademarks of Amyris, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.