Zoonotic virus often cited as future pandemic threat and requiring urgent R&D action
iosBio’s oral vaccine technology offers potential breakthrough against current challenges of vaccine access globally
Burgess Hill, UK, 23 February 2022 — iosBio (‘the Company’), a UK-based biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines that can be administered orally, has been awarded a £288,000 grant from the Department of Health and Social Care’s UK Vaccine Network programme, delivered by Innovate UK, to support the development of an oral vaccine candidate against Nipah virus (NiV) using the Company’s proprietary OraPro™ thermal stabilization technology.
The award is one of 22 successful research projects from a new £10 million research competition funded by UK government, through UK Aid, to develop new vaccines and technologies to tackle diseases with epidemic potential in low- and middle-income countries to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of the global fight against future infectious disease outbreaks. Working with Innovate UK, this £10 million UK Vaccine Network competition is supporting clinical development of candidate vaccines, their manufacturing and delivery processes and technologies, for use in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
NiV infection is a zoonotic illness transmitted to people from animals, through contaminated food or directly from person-to-person. It rapidly attacks the respiratory and central nervous systems, with symptoms including fever, vomiting and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). The case fatality rate is between 40 and 75%.
First identified in Malaysia in 1998, outbreaks occur almost annually in parts of Asia, primarily Bangladesh and India, and while these have tended to be small NiV is often cited as a future pandemic threat and is one of the pathogens in the World Health Organization’s R&D Blueprint list of epidemic threats needing urgent R&D action. Despite its notable pandemic potential, no safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics have been approved.
iosBio’s NiV oral vaccine candidate is being developed using a harmless, non-replicating adenovirus as the viral vector, genetically engineered to carry some of the genetic material from the pathogen. When administered, the viral vector vaccine would cause the body’s own cells to manufacture proteins from the NiV pathogen, provoking an immune response and stimulating production of antibodies and T cells. This means that when the body is exposed to the real pathogen, it already has the tools it needs to combat infection.
The Company’s proprietary OraPro™ platform technology engineers the vector to be thermally-stable, capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 50°C and allowing it to pass through the hostile conditions in the stomach without loss of efficacy. This ability to withstand high temperatures also provides long-term product stability and the removal of refrigeration requirements during manufacturing, shipping and storage – a potential opportunity to break through the current challenges of vaccine access globally, particularly in LMICs where temperature control is challenging and expensive.
Executive Chairman of iosBio, Wayne Channon said: “We are proud that Innovate UK and the UK government have, through their thorough review process, chosen to invest in our oral vaccine research and recognise its potential against threats from emerging infectious diseases. While the world continues to battle COVID-19, new threats are still emerging, and we must prepare for the next pandemic. By developing safe and effective oral vaccines that can be administered without the need for complex cold chain storage, health professionals or vaccination centres, we would have the opportunity to prevent or halt local outbreaks, including in some of the hardest to reach areas, before they present a pandemic risk.”
For further information please contact:
Consilium Strategic Communications
David Daley, Davide Salvi, Melissa Gardiner
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3709 5700
NOTES FOR EDITORS
iosBio is a UK based biotechnology company developing next generation vaccines that can be administered orally.
The Company’s proprietary OraPro™ thermal stabilization technology enables the oral administration of thermally stable, non-replicating viral vectors that can be delivered sublingually via the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and other routes. These vaccine vectors are engineered to withstand temperatures of up to 50 degrees and the hostile conditions in the stomach without loss of efficacy and providing long term product stability at ambient temperatures.
iosBio is developing vaccines designed to stimulate mucosal, systemic and T cell immune responses, providing robust immunity to a number of infectious diseases including COVID-19, influenza and Zika.
iosBio is headquartered in Burgess Hill, UK. For more information visit: iosbio.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 £120m 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).
The team of doctors and scientists at iosBio believe that the next great leap forward in immunization will be oral delivery
Enabling the fastest and most cost-effective deployment of vaccines the world has ever seen. This is not just a huge leap forward from a humanitarian perspective, oral vaccine technology also represents a significant commercial opportunity.