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The Austrian firm Polymun has been playing a key role in developing a vaccine

Austrian-based company Polymun Scientific has been providing key expertise for the Biontech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that was recently approved by the EU.

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There are plenty of RNA vaccine manufacturers who rely on Polymun for the ‘formulation’ (i.e. packaging) of their vaccine messenger RNA and Polymun is currently involved with several big-name pandemic response projects and a number of different vaccine candidates; their work with the German biotechnology firm Biontech and the New York pharmacological group Pfizer is, however, probably one of the best-known projects.

In simple terms, the RNA supplied by the manufacturers that forms the basis for the vaccine is packaged with lipid nanoparticles (microscopically small particles) that protect the RNA from degrading too quickly.

The rapidly expanding and family-run Austrian firm imports these lipids from Canada and the USA, but the expertise on the interaction of RNA and lipids in vaccine manufacture is all ‘made in Austria’. The ultimate aim is to use Polymun’s liposomes technology to safely deliver the COVID-19 vaccine through the cell wall so that it can function to full effect there.

The company was founded in 1992 by Hermann Katinger, one of the pioneers of animal cell culture. In addition to its liposomes technology, Polymun is a contractor in the biopharmaceutical sector and also supplies e.g. biotechnological substances and research reagents.