Debiopharm launches wide-scale Wazoku Crowd Challenge to develop a single-dose mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine

By Wazoku

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A Swiss-based, global biopharmaceutical company, today announced the launch of a global Wazoku Crowd Challenge to identify a new single-dose formulation of approved mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Currently approved COVID-19 vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology require two injections, given several weeks apart, for optimal protection against the virus
  • Debiopharm has launched an Open Innovation Challenge, via the Wazoku Crowd global network of Solvers, to propose new pharmaceutical formulations for a single-injection mRNA vaccine with the same level of COVID-19 protection as approved multi-dose formulations
  • The winning proposal will be awarded a monetary prize and be acquired by Debiopharm, a leader in long-lasting formulations, for further development

London, United Kingdom. 20 April, 2021 – Debiopharm, a Swiss-based, global biopharmaceutical company, today announced the launch of a global Wazoku Crowd Challenge to identify a new single-dose formulation of approved mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

In order to respond to the need to control the ongoing pandemic with simplified vaccine dosing, Debiopharm is employing a collaborative approach, as practiced in their business model, of leveraging the world as a laboratory of innovation. Through the Wazoku Crowd, an Open Innovation crowdsourcing platform, the Challenge has been launched to global participants from various backgrounds including science, engineering, and technology. This theoretical Challenge will require the submission of a written proposal, directly via the Wazoku Crowd Platform, before the end of May 2021. Find out more about the Challenge and how to submit a proposal.

Specialized in the manufacturing and development of oncology and antibiotic therapies, Debiopharm is a world leader in long-lasting formulations that allow for gradual dissolution and distribution of peptides and small molecules for up to 6 months. Following the contest’s submission period, the company will evaluate each proposal and provide notification of the winning solution.

“With more than 40 years of experience, we have learned that collaboration is key to finding novel solutions to unmet medical needs. As we are unfortunately still in the battle against COVID-19, we must unite across regions to get this pandemic under control. We are confident that the pool of international innovators within the Wazoku Crowd network will breathe fresh wind into this quest for a simplified vaccine solution.” Bertrand Ducrey, CEO of Debiopharm.

Vaccines offer protection by training the immune system to recognize pathogens such as viruses. Unlike traditional vector vaccines that are based upon modified forms of a live virus, mRNA vaccines contain instructions that allow the host cell to produce and display a harmless spike protein on its surface, thus triggering an antibody response. The mRNA is then degraded after the protein is expressed and there is little risk for infection as may be the case with an attenuated vaccine. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines must be stored at low temperatures due to limited stability and two doses are administered to first prime and then boost the immune system. Through this Challenge, Debiopharm is hoping to improve the formulation in order to eliminate the need for a second dose. For more information on the “New Formulations for Approved mRNA Vaccines” Challenge (n° 9934335) visit the Wazoku Crowd Challenge Center.

Debiopharm’s commitment to patients 

Debiopharm aims to develop innovative therapies that target high unmet medical needs in oncology and bacterial infections. Bridging the gap between disruptive discovery products and real-world patient reach, we identify high-potential compounds and technologies for in-licensing, clinically demonstrate their safety and efficacy and then select large pharmaceutical commercialization partners to maximize patient access globally. For more information, please visit the Debiopharm website.

By Wazoku

Wazoku is an innovation SaaS business that helps some of the world’s biggest organizations to innovate at scale. Whether it’s making the most of your employee's ideas, identifying new partners to collaborate with, or exploring the boundless potential of open innovation – or all three! – Wazoku makes innovation happen.