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Oxford Vacmedix Announces Innovate UK Funding for Development of Novel T-Cell Potency Assays

Oxford Vacmedix UK Limited (OVM) announced today the award of a Small Business Research Initiative contract from Innovate UK to fund research into the development of novel T-cell based potency assays. These assays will support the development of vaccines for diseases of epidemic potential using the company's proprietary recombinant overlapping peptide (ROP) technology and will pave the way for more cost-effective, rapid testing and improved control of manufacturing for vaccines. This is particularly important in the development of new vaccines for low- and middle-income countries and the findings may also be important in cancer research.

One of the key issues in vaccine development is the need for potency assays for Quality Control release and stability testing. Traditionally, in vivo testing is used to determine vaccine potency; however, these assays are time-consuming and costly and can show high variability. Cell-based potency assays are typically more reliable and have significantly reduced costs. This project will demonstrate a platform application, so that the assay format can be modified for use with different vaccine antigens including those with epidemic potential. The research will be carried out in collaboration with the Department of Oncology at the University of Oxford and with RSSL.

Spun out from the University of Oxford, OVM is commercialising the research on ROPs developed initially in the University. The principal application of the ROP platform technology is the development of novel therapeutic cancer vaccines with the potential for increased efficacy, simpler regulatory pathways and lower costs. OVM's lead cancer vaccine, OVM-200 which targets survivin, is in a Phase 1 clinical trial in the UK for solid tumours.

This research is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care as part of the UK Vaccine Network (UKVN), a UK Aid programme to develop vaccines for diseases with epidemic potential in low- and middle-income countries.

Dr Shisong Jiang, CSO and Founder of OVM, said:

“We are very pleased to have received the support from Innovate UK and this funding from the UK Vaccine Network to enable work on this important project to be undertaken. The development of this novel potency assay technology could demonstrate real utility in the development of vaccines for diseases of epidemic potential and be a valuable addition for the progression of all vaccines that employ T cells in the immune response, such as our cancer vaccines.”

Professor Xiao-Ning Xu, Chair in Human Immunology, Imperial College, London: added:

“This project is an excellent opportunity to widen the applications of the Oxford Vacmedix's ROP technology and to build on the company's expertise in immunology and infectious disease. We look forward to a successful outcome and to these novel assays being able to speed up the development of new vaccines as prophylactics or therapies for cancer and infectious disease”.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
William Finch, CEO, Oxford Vacmedix
T: +44 (0)1865 742087 | M: +44(0)7769 903711 | E: [email protected]

About Oxford Vacmedix
Oxford Vacmedix UK Ltd, based on the Oxford Science Park, UK, is a clinical stage bio-pharma company that utilizes the novel proprietary platform technology of recombinant overlapping peptides (ROPs) invented by Dr Shisong Jiang. ROPs have been validated as a technology to stimulate broad and strong T cell immunity therefore forming a good platform for cancer therapeutic vaccines and diagnostics. The company is a spin-out of the University of Oxford and has strong partnerships including collaboration in China with Changzhou Bioscience that has licensed the ROP platform to develop diagnostics in both cancer and infectious disease.

For more information, please visit: www.oxfordvacmedix.com

About the UK Vaccine Network
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is the UK Government department which is responsible for helping people to live more independent, healthier lives for longer. This investment is part of the UK Vaccine Network (UKVN). UKVN was established to provide funding to support the development of promising vaccines and vaccine technologies that will help combat infectious diseases that have epidemic potential in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). UKVN is a £193m UK Aid investment, which means all projects funded must support research primarily and directly for the benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

For more information, please visit: www.gov.uk/government/groups/uk-vaccines-network