Living History: Our Role in Global Scientific Collaboration for SARS-CoV-2

Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical, Drug Discovery & Development,
  • Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A global pandemic, a scientific pledge of collaboration and transparency where commercial, governmental and non-governmental institutions respond to the crisis together. The WHO, CEPI, CoVIC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have all taken center stage over the past year in the global fight against COVID-19. It was through science – virology, immunology, cellular immunology – and this worldwide collaborative effort that a vaccine was approved and made commercially available in 314 days. This webinar will pull back the curtain on partnering with the biopharmaceutical industry for vaccine development as a contract research organization.

Register for this webinar to hear Luc Gagnon, from Nexelis, and Bassam Hallis, from Public Health England, reflect on the past year and their contribution to SARS-CoV-2. Speaking to the science behind vaccine development, the webinar will address the difference between a wild-type neutralization assay, the industry gold standard, and a surrogate pseudoparticle neutralization assay (PNA), how to generate a pseudoparticle, and the correlation studies performed to support adoption of the PNA assay for vaccine and antiviral development. Binding assays will also be explained, including the process optimized to generate key antigens used to assess the humoral response. The difference between the wild-type strains and the variants of concern (VOC) will also be highlighted, including how to assess the impact of these VOCs on the vaccine/drug efficacy.

Our team of scientists develop assays for use during all phases of vaccine development. In this webinar, they will detail the challenges, the scientific excellence needed to support this industry, and the proactive and scientifically sound approach that will become the gold standard for vaccines and antivirals assay development moving forward.



Luc Gagnon, Ph.D., Vice President, Vaccine Sciences, Site Head Laval, Nexelis

Luc Gagnon, Vice President of Vaccine Sciences, leads scientific operations at Nexelis to support vaccines and biologics throughout the different phases of clinical trials. Luc brings over 20 years of experience in several biotech, CRO, and pharmaceutical companies to his role, including extensive expertise in ligand binding and microbiology/virology functional assay development, qualification and validation.

Message Presenter

Bassam Hallis, Ph.D., Head of Preclinical Development & General Project Manager, Public Health England

Bassam Hallis has been involved in scientific research for over 25 years including 15 years in regulated activities incorporating vaccine evaluation/characterisation, release/stability and clinical trial serology. He has extensive experience in assay development and validation including cell-based and functional assays as well as technology transfer of early stage and validated tests. Hallis has led a number of projects involving the setting up of new laboratories and operating in compliance with GLP, GCP and cGMP.

Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

Biopharmaceutical professionals involved with:

  • Vaccine and antiviral development
  • Bioanalytical testing
  • Assay development
  • Method development
  • In vivo models
  • Pseudovirus or protein expression

What You Will Learn

In this webinar, participants will learn about:

  • What is needed to prepare or respond faster to other infectious agents
  • The difference between a wild-type neutralization assay and a surrogate PNA
  • A better understanding of neutralizing and binding assays
  • How to generate a pseudoparticle
  • How to assess the impact of these VOCs on the vaccine/drug efficacy

Xtalks Partner


Nexelis is your partner for assay and biomarker development, advanced bioanalytical and laboratory testing, and translational immunology. As the leading specialty laboratory, we have unrivaled expertise in immunology, specifically in the areas of infectious diseases, vaccine development, metabolic diseases, and immuno-oncology. Across five operating sites in North America and Europe, we integrate our technology platforms and offer translational solutions from early development through late stage clinical. Our deep bench of scientists are instrumental in development and large-scale sample testing of new modalities. These future therapies include blockbuster vaccines and biologics, antiviral drugs, immunotherapies, and gene and cell therapy products. Through our scientific discipline, critical thinking, and agility, we provide smarter solutions that produce scientifically sound data consistently to advance your molecule to market. To learn more, visit

Public Health England

PHE exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and well-being and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care. For more information on PHE, visit, or follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk.

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