The COBIK excellence center is working on the development of the vaccine against COVID-19, while the small research company Educell has formed a consortium to further develop and test its cell therapy approach for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
COBIK, Centre of Excellence for Biosensors, Instrumentation and Process Control, announced in March that it had begun activities related to the development of the vaccine against the COVID-19 virus. The center focuses on the development of a platform which would allow for fast creation of vaccines in cases of similar epidemics. COBIK connects partners from research and universities – like the Laboratory of Biocybernetics at the University of Ljubljana on one hand, and companies on the other. One of the key partners is Bia Separations, a global leader in convective interaction media monolith chromatography. The technology is essential for the purification of large biomolecules – as those used in vaccines. As such the developers of Bia Separations are also in close cooperation with US institutions developing the vaccine.
Another important initiative is the consortium called FAC! (Fight Against Corona). The consortium was formed by Slovenian research company Educell and includes 13 partners from Slovenia, the USA, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Israel and India. Its primary aim: to fully develop and test the cell therapy approach which could prove invaluable for the treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome – the cause of death in COVID-19 patients. The company’s founder Milan Knežević has been developing cell therapy technologies for 23 years. The approach has already been tested on several coronavirus patients in Italy and Serbia.
Educell is prepared to share its technology “first, to enable enough production of cells to support clinical studies and second, to produce cells for the application to all patients in need and all the physicians willing to use the therapy.”