St. Louis biotech startup Precision Virologics has licensed a COVID-19 vaccine developed at Washington University.

Although it won’t be one of the first to reach the market, it has potential advantages over other vaccine contenders.

A recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted the vaccine could be important if other early candidates fail, or confer only partial protection against COVID-19.

The vaccine was developed by David T. Curiel, MD, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology, and Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor, Departments of Medicine, Molecular Microbiology, Pathology & Immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Curiel is founder and chief executive of Precision Virologics. Diamond is the startup’s scientific advisor.

Precision Virologics is a vaccine startup with a focus on emerging infectious diseases. The company has obtained rights to this COVID-19 vaccine for the U.S., Europe and Japan. Bharat Biotechnology, an Indian company, has licensed the rights to distribute the vaccine in all other global markets.

The vaccine developed by Curiel and Diamond is administered in a nasal spray rather than an injection. The nasal application has a number of advantages: It’s easier to administer, and mouse trials have indicated that a single dose achieves full protection against the virus and prevents the spread of the disease by specifically targeting cells in the upper respiratory tract.

BioGenerator, the investment arm of BioSTL, made a seed investment in Precision Virologics and provided development assistance to the startup.

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