ReiThera Announces Preliminary Phase 2 Data from its COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

  • GRAd-COV2 is well tolerated and induces clear immune responses in trial subjects 
  • Antibody response against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein generated in over 93% of volunteers after first dose, reaching 99% after second dose 
  • Independent advisory boards recommended continuation of the trial and advancing GRAd-COV2 into Phase 3 

ROME, Italy, July 12th, 2021 – ReiThera Srl, a biotech company dedicated to the technology development, GMP manufacturing and clinical translation of genetic vaccines and medicinal products for advanced therapies, today announces the preliminary safety and immunogenicity data from the Phase 2 clinical “COVITAR” trial with GRAd-COV2, its novel COVID-19 vaccine candidate. 

The trial’s Independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (independent Committee for the evaluation of safety) and the Steering Committee (Scientific Committee for the evaluation of efficacy) recommended the continuation of the clinical development of the GRAd-COV2 vaccine following a recent review of the data. 

The study, which was conducted in 24 clinical centers in Italy, enrolled 917 volunteers over the age of 18; 25% of subjects were over the age of 65 and / or with conditions associated with an increased risk of severe disease in case of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Volunteers were randomized in three regimens (1:1:1), receiving either a single vaccine dose followed by a placebo dose, or two vaccine doses, or two doses of placebo, with a three-week interval between the two administrations. 

As agreed with the independent advisory boards and the competent regulatory authorities, ReiThera unblinded the trial participants at the two-month check-up stage following the administration of the first dose, to allow those who had received the placebo to take part in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. 

The safety profile and the immune response to vaccination with GRAd-COV2 confirm what was observed in the Phase 1 clinical study. In particular, the vaccine was well tolerated at the first, and even better at the second administration. Adverse events, mostly mild to moderate and of short duration, were mainly related to pain and induration at the site of injection, fatigue, muscle pain and headache. There were no vaccine-related serious adverse events. 

Antibody responses (seroconversion) against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were achieved in over 93% of the volunteers at three weeks after the first dose, reaching 99% after the second dose. Five weeks after the first vaccination, the titer of both spike-binding and SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies was comparable to that measured in a reference group of patients recovering from COVID-19 infection. 

“We are very excited about the preliminary Phase 2 data from our COVITAR trial,” said Roberto Camerini, MD Reithera Medical Director. “Our vaccine candidate confirmed its excellent safety and good immunogenicity profile in a large cohort. ReiThera reaffirms its commitment to the fight against COVID-19 in the face of pressing global demand for additional vaccines. The Phase 3 program, based on a non-inferiority design with a primary immunological endpoint in comparison with a viral vectored 

vaccine already marketed, has received a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency and other important regulatory agencies. We hope to be able to start Phase 3 trial as soon as possible.” 

Adenoviral vector vaccines induce more potent and persistent cell-mediated responses than other vaccine platforms, due to the activation of T lymphocytes against the spike protein, as we confirmed in our Phase 1 study of our candidate vaccine GRAd-COV2. We and others have shown that, unlike antibody immunity, T lymphocyte responses do not lose potency against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Therefore, in the context of current and future epidemics, vaccines with this property could prove to be important weapons in offering protection from COVID-19, alone or in heterologous combination with other vaccine platforms,” adds Stefania Capone, Head of Preclinical and Clinical Immunology unit at ReiThera. 


About GRAd-COV2 

GRAd-COV2, the candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 recently developed by ReiThera, is based on a novel and proprietary replication-defective simian (gorilla) adenoviral vector (called GRAd) encoding the full-length coronavirus spike protein (GRAd-COV2). The spike protein enables the coronavirus to enter human cells. 

Simian adenoviral (SAd) vectors have been extensively used as delivery agents for genetic vaccine candidates against multiple infectious diseases, including Ebola and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), in different populations, including elderly and infants enrolled in early and late stage clinical trials to date. Preclinical and clinical evidence have demonstrated that ReiThera’s vaccine technology is safe and induces robust cellular and humoral immune responses. 

ReiThera’s novel GRAd vector belongs to species C adenovirus that are considered the most potent vaccine carriers and has low seroprevalence in humans. This means that GRAd vaccine immunogenicity is not hampered by pre-existing anti-human adenovirus antibodies. 

About ReiThera Srl 

ReiThera Srl is a biotech company dedicated to the technology development, GMP manufacturing and clinical translation of genetic vaccines and medicinal products for advanced therapies. The company’s management and scientific teams have developed a highly innovative technological platform based on simian adeno-vectored vaccines against several infectious diseases, such as RSV and Ebola. 

ReiThera is led by an experienced management team that has worked together for many years in previous successful enterprises, including Okairos (acquired by GSK), and has a long-standing expertise in scalable processes for viral vector manufacturing, supported by a cGMP facility inclusive of filling suite and quality control laboratories. ReiThera is also part of a pan-European consortium focused on the development and large-scale manufacture of an adeno-viral vector vaccine against COVID-19. 

ReiThera has its headquarters, R&D laboratories and GMP facilities in Rome, Italy. 

For further information see: 

Media Contacts: 

ReiThera Srl 

Antonella Folgori, Chief Executive Officer 

MEDiSTRAVA Consulting – International Press 

Sylvie Berrebi, Mark Swallow PhD +44 (0) 7714306525 / +44 (0) 7903737703 

Comin & Partners – Italian Press 

Giorgia Bazurli 

+39 349 2840676