Tokyo, Dec 16 (UNI) Japan's pharmaceutical company Shionogi (Shionogi & Co) on Wednesday announced the launch of clinical trials of its prophylactic vaccine candidate against COVID-19.

"Shionogi & Co, Ltd announced that Shionogi has initiated a Japanese Phase 1/2 clinical trial of a prophylactic vaccine candidate for COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection, and the first dose has been administered successfully," Sputnik quoted a statement by the company as saying.

Since April 2020, Shionogi has been pursuing the discovery and development of a recombinant protein vaccine against COVID-19, using a unique technology, dubbed BEVS, established by UMN Pharma Inc., a subsidiary of Shionogi.

"The recombinant protein vaccine contains a purified target antigen protein, produced using genetic information from the virus ... the recombinant protein vaccine needs a certain development period for antigen expression and purification before initiating dosing trials," the company said.

The clinical trials will involve 200 Japanese adults, who will be given two doses of the vaccine with an interval of three weeks to determine an optimal dose. The participants of the trials will be monitored for a year after vaccination.

Earlier in December, Japan's AnGes biopharmaceutical company started phase 2 clinical trials of its DNA vaccine against the coronavirus involving 500 volunteers.

Last week, UK-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced it had reached a final agreement with the Japanese government to provide the country with 120 million doses of the vaccine based on results of clinical trials.


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