Pfäffikon (SZ): Saiba AG has decided to focus on optimization of its vaccine candidate rather than rush into clinical studies in 2020. Saiba’s strategy is driven by an awareness of the medical need for safer and more effective “second generation” vaccines beyond 2020/2021 and an assessment of the competitive landscape created by Operation Warp Speed, which is dominated by billions in subsidies to large pharma companies.
Saiba’s original development strategy of rapid, parallel clinical testing and manufacturing upscale was based upon access to a large resource pool. Indeed, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) had announced in spring 2020 that it would support one of three Swiss vaccine candidates which included Saiba AG. However, even with a positive letter of recommendation from the Scientific Corona Task Force of Switzerland, the BAG eventually decided to not support a domestic COVID vaccine solution and Saiba but rather order an RNA vaccine from the US company Moderna.
Therefore, the management of Saiba AG decided to adapt its original strategy. Without strong financial support and wither the billions in funding provided to large Pharma and Biotech companies through Operation Warp Speed, a distortion of the competitive environment took place. To be amongst the first in the global race against large companies with such subsidies was simply not possible for Saiba. Moreover, from a scientific point of view, it is uncertain whether any of the leading candidates currently mentioned in the press will even reach the market. Due to their short development phases, the companies who push for vaccine sales in 2020 or 2021 are anticipated to face serious issues such as safety, tolerability, efficacy, production yields, cost of goods, stability, logistics frozen, etc.).
Since it is understood that COVID 19 will become endemic and will therefore remain a pressing public health concern for many years, Saiba plans to develop its vaccine sustainably according to the following criteria:
1. Best possible safety profile
2. High efficiency
3. Good stability
4. Reasonable production costs
5. Good transportability (around + 4 degrees Celsius)
With these advantages in its product profile, Saiba’s vaccine will then have a global raison d’être and will not only be available to the “first world”, but worldwide, to all people who need to be vaccinated.