The Government of Singapore has awarded San-Diego based Arcturus Therapeutics a grant that could reach up to $10 million if it succeeds in creating a treatment for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Arcturus is currently developing a vaccine that triggers the body’s immune system to fight the deadly strain. The vaccine is believed to be effective at lower doses compared with other ribonucleic acids (RNA)-based medicines.
“What we bring to the equation here is a single-shot solution and a 30-fold improvement in dosing…That is why Singapore selected us,” said the company Chief Executive Joseph Payne.
The American drug maker is utilizing its self-replicating RNA platform and is working with the Duke University School of Medicine and the National University of Singapore to immediately release the vaccine but it has not yet set a timeline for clinical testing in humans.
According to reports, Arcturus has already received part of the grant from the Singapore Economic Development Board and the remainder will be given depending on development milestones.
The Singaporean government will own the rights to the vaccine but it will be freely marketed to the rest of the world if it becomes successful.
Arcturus is the third company that is reportedly working on vaccines, next to its fellow US drug companies Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Moderna.
Inovio researchers announced last month that they were able to come up with a potential coronavirus vaccine in just a span of three hours. Moderna, for its part, became the first biopharma to kick-start an experimental coronavirus clinical trial.
Pharmaceutical companies around the world are facing a tremendous urgency to develop effective prevention for the coronavirus outbreak which has already infected more than 120,000 and killed 4,630 as of March 12.