IBB researchers part of Singapore team awarded Wellcome Leap R3 Programme Contract

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Beyond the use of mRNA vaccines to limit the spread of COVID-19, these vaccines have the potential to protect us against other infectious diseases and cancer.

Current limitations of mRNA vaccines include the need for cold storage and transport, high dosage, and high costs. To address these shortcomings, Wellcome Leap, a U.S.-based non-profit organisation that funds programmes that aim to deliver breakthroughs in human health, awarded their prestigious R3 Programme Contract to a team of scientists in Singapore. The team consists of researchers from A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and Institute of Bioengineering and Bioimaging (IBB), and the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine). Out of 17 teams that were awarded the R3 contract, this team was the only awardee from Asia.

The R3 programme aims to reduce the cost of biologic products by ramping up the scale of production and to create a self-sustaining global network of manufacturing facilities to meet future pandemic needs. The research from this programme will help to champion the team’s fight against COVID-19 and other pandemics in the future.

As part of the Singapore team, IBB’s covering Executive Director, Dr Yi Yan Yang, contributes her expertise in biodegradable nanoparticle-based nucleic acid delivery to enable targeted delivery of RNA into the body. Dr Yang highlighted, “Safe and effective delivery is the key for successful clinical applications of nucleic acid therapeutics. In this work, IBB will make lipid nanoparticles with controlled size and surface functionality so that they can be used to deliver the novel RNA vaccines effectively and safely to lymph nodes and immune cells.”

If you would like to find out more about our research capabilities, feel free to contact us at enquiry@ibb.a-star.edu.sg.

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