Oxford Brookes spin-out company awarded £2m for vaccine development

Monday, 14 May 2018

OET

Oxford Expression Technologies (OET), a spin-out company launched jointly by Oxford Brookes University and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has been awarded a £2m contract from Innovate UK.

It has been awarded as part of the Vaccines for Global Epidemics Round 2 competition and will allow OET to continue its ongoing work in developing the first economically viable vaccine against the Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) virus. 

The Vaccines for Global Epidemics competition supports the development of candidate vaccines and vaccine platform technologies at the preclinical stage. The aim is to enable an effective and rapid response during future outbreaks of diseases identified by the UK Vaccine Network.  

The competition is wholly funded by the Government Official Development Assistance, through the Small Business Research Initiative and the Department of Health, with the aim that vaccines developed as part of the competition will be appropriate for use in low and middle-income countries and outbreak settings. 

CCHF is a severe virus disease endemic to Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and some Asian countries. The virus is transmitted to humans via tick bites or contact with virus-infected livestock.

The mortality rate of CCHF is up to 40% with survivors often being left with long term, debilitating health problems.  Incidences of CCHF are increasing due to a number of factors including the geographical spread of the tick vector, associated with climate change, and trade of non-symptomatic livestock from endemic regions to other previously unaffected areas.

CCHF is a serious viral disease and currently there is no widely available vaccine. With high mortality rates, there is an urgent need to develop an affordable vaccine to be able to provide protection to those living in some of the world's poorest communities.

Professor Linda King, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Global Partnerships, Oxford Brookes University

The project is being led by Professor Robert Possee, CEO of OET, together with a consortium of leading UK experts in vaccine development, CCHF virus, and baculovirus expression technologies, including Professor Sarah Gilbert from the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, Professor Roger Hewson and Dr Stuart Dowall from The National Infection Service, Public Health England (PHE), Salisbury and Professor Linda King from Oxford Brookes University. 

Professor Linda King, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Global Partnerships at Oxford Brookes University said: "CCHF is a serious viral disease and currently there is no widely available vaccine. With high mortality rates, there is an urgent need to develop an affordable vaccine to be able to provide protection to those living in some of the world's poorest communities. The funding from Innovate UK will allow the team of experts involved to continue working on an effective solution."  

Oxford Expression Technologies Ltd (OET) emerged from a collaboration between Oxford Brookes University and the Natural Environment Research Council. It provides products, services and consultancy to the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries from its base in Oxford, England, which has quickly become a world renowned centre of excellence for application of the baculovirus expression vector system in insect cells. 

For more information visit www.oetltd.com

OET works closely with the  Oxford Brookes University Insect Virus Research Group (IVRG) within the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences.