Toulouse and Tours, 03rd October 2023 – In close collaboration with University of Tours (France) and INRAE (France’s national research institute for agriculture, food and environment) and with the financial backing of ANRS | Emerging Infectious Diseases (a French national research agency) and the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Lovaltech, a French biotech company based in Tours, is continuing to collaborate with GTP Bioways, a French CDMO (Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation) specialised in the manufacturing of biotherapies, around its nasal administration anti-COVID-19 vaccine candidate. GTP Bioways is now focusing on scaling the manufacturing process as well as on the GMP  manufacturing of Lovaltech’s vaccine for the purposes of phase I and II clinical trials.
Lovaltech’s vaccine approach is unique. This vaccine is indeed the only one which is able to not only provide protection against severe and mild cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection, but also against the human-to-human transmission of any existing or future variants – as it can stop contagiousness thanks to its nasal administration, which triggers immune responses right where the virus enters the body. The vaccine’s technology also makes use of a complex fusion protein, thus offering a wide-spectrum immune response appropriate for all variants.
Large-scale efforts were involved in the development of this vaccine in order to obtain a clean vaccinal protein profile, therefore stable at above-zero temperatures and suitable for vaccination in countries where maintaining the cold chain might be challenging.
The collaboration between Lovaltech and GTP Bioways, managed by University of Tours as part of its support for Lovaltech’s development, is approaching the final stages of industrial process development with process scale-up and analytical methods validation.
Lovaltech CEO Patrick Barillot says: ‘Although the vaccine protein is complex, GTP Bioways’ teams have managed to develop a high-performance process, whilst sticking to agreed timescales. We are on track with a bold schedule, which will allow us to start clinical trials as early as next year.’
In the next few months, the manufacturer will go ahead with the GMP production of the doses needed for early clinical trials. GTP Bioways President Alain Sainsot adds: ‘Being able to support Lovaltech through the development of such a novel and complex protein that will help prevent infectious diseases such as COVID-19 is a true success for GTP Bioways and a real source of satisfaction for our teams’.
 Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) are defined by WHO as ‘the aspect of quality assurance that ensures that medicinal products are consistently produced and controlled to the quality standards appropriate to their intended use and as required by the product specification.
Lovaltech is a deeptech start-up founded in January 2022 for the purpose of developing this innovative vaccine born out of the research carried out by the BioMAP research team at the INRAE – University of Tours Joint Research Unit for Infectiology and Public Health, together with many academic partners, and developed within a 100% French ecosystem. It was founded by Patrick Barillot, formerly Director of Business Management at Recipharm, BioMAP research team lead Isabelle Dimier-Poisson, Mathieu Epardaud (INRAE researcher) and Nicolas Aubrey (University of tours teacher-researcher) who are members of the BioMAP team and scientific consultants for the start-up. Lovaltech embodies the perfect bridge between academic research and industry. In 2022 it won the i-Lab competition and this year it was awarded funds under the #France 2030 investment programme. This biotech start-up based in Tours is currently getting ready to initiate clinical trials for the first vaccine to come out of its technology platform for the development of new generation nasal administration vaccines.
About GTP Bioways
GTP Bioways is a CDMO (Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation) offering comprehensive manufacturing services in order to support biopharmaceutical companies from preclinical trials to the commercial manufacturing of their innovative therapies. GTP’s expertise and capabilities include process development as well as the mammalian and microbial manufacturing of biodrugs, antibody-drug conjugates and nanodrugs. With our strong expertise in solving problems for our clients, we strive to offer a custom approach, finely tuned to meet each specific challenge. GTP Bioways operates four French production sites and employs 130 staff. Its projected turnover in 2023 is 20 million euros.
Created on 1st January 2020, INRAE is France’s new national research institute for agriculture, food and environment, and is a major player in the research and innovation fields. A targeted research institute born out of the merger of INRA (the national institute for agricultural research) and IRSTEA (the national research institute of science and technology for the environment and agriculture), INRAE brings together a 12,000-strong community, with 273 research, service and experimentation units spread across 18 centres throughout France. The institute is among the top worldwide research bodies for agricultural and food scientific research and specialises in three key areas of study: agriculture, food and the environment. INRAE strives to be a major player in the transitions which are necessary to face major global challenges. In the face of growing world population, climate change, resource rarefication and declining biodiversity, it has a major role to play in building solutions and accelerating the much-needed major transitions that will enhance the sustainability of agricultural systems and food systems.
About University of Tours
Located in the heart of the cities of Tours and Blois, University of Tours has been putting education, innovation, professionalisation and student success at the heart of its mission for the past 50 years. With the university’s seven training and research units, two University Institutes of Technology, school of engineering and Institute of Business Administration, its 32,700 students truly benefit from the advantages of a multidisciplinary context. The university is open to the world and encourages student mobility – it welcomes over 3,250 international students and 300 international staff each year. Its 35 research units are accredited (8 by CNRS, 5 by INSERM and 4 by INRAE) and recognised both on the national and international stages. The university has received the HRS4R (Human Resources Strategy for Researchers) award and it has recently joined the NEOLAIA consortium, an alliance of young European universities.
About ANRS | Emerging Infectious Diseases
Created on 1 January 2021, ANRS | Emerging Infectious Diseases is an is an independent agency of Inserm, the French national institute of health and medical research. The agency’s missions are to facilitate, evaluate, coordinate and fund research into HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (in particular, re-emerging respiratory diseases, including COVID-19, viral haemorrhagic fevers and arboviral diseases). It works across all research fields – fundamental, clinical, public health, human and social science research. ANRS | Emerging Infectious Diseases has been built with an emphasis on innovation and building strong international partnerships. With a ‘One Health’ approach focused on human and animal health and the environmental impact of humans, it is getting ready to meet the specific challenges raised by emerging diseases and how it will handle crisis response. It has been funding this project from the start and is supporting the teams with its expertise in consolidating scientific approaches and by guiding the project through the phases needed to bring a vaccine to market.
GTP Bioways (Marketing and Communications Manager):
Tel +33 7 71 18 64 73
University of Tours (Communications Director):
Tel +33 247 36 68
Lovaltech (Point of contact for communication) :
Photo credits: Arnaud Späni