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Oxford spinout promises inexpensive vaccines for cancer and viral infections

Oxford, UK, 3rd December 2012

A spin-out from the University of Oxford, Oxford Vacmedix, will
commercialise a new technology with the potential to reduce the cost
of vaccine development significantly and increase the effectiveness of
vaccines in providing immunity against both infectious diseases and
cancer. The technology makes use of techniques that have already
produced effective vaccines under laboratory conditions.

The key to the technology lies in manufacturing new ‘overlapping
peptide’ vaccines using a natural expression system. A team from the
University of Oxford, Department of Oncology and the Weatherall
Institute of Molecular Medicine led by Dr Shisong Jiang is responsible
for the promising technology. Describing the advantages of their
work, Dr. Jiang said: “The present way of making overlapping peptides
is to chemically synthesize all the peptides. The use of the peptide
synthesizer, and the limited quantity of peptides produced in this
way, made the overlapping peptides very expensive to produce.”

“In contrast, our new method of making overlapping peptides in a
bacterial system will allow us to obtain the recombinant protein and
then the overlapping peptides endlessly. It is a great improvement
compared with the previous method.”

“There are two clear advantages to this approach to developing new
vaccines. Firstly, we expect that this technique will allow us to
design an effective vaccine much more quickly than using standard
vaccine development methods. Secondly, these vaccines can be made
using recombinant techniques, potentially a thousand times cheaper
than the current solid-phase synthesis processes used to manufacture
similar vaccines.”

OVM has already crossed international boundaries to access a wider
range of commercialisation opportunities. As a key part of its
business plan, OVM UK has formed a joint venture in Hong Kong with
Chinese investors. This collaboration will enable the majority of the
early stage validation of the Oxford technology to be undertaken at
the newly established science and technology centre, Changzhou
Bioincubation Centre, Xinbei District, Changzhou, supported by Chinese
private investment and government funding. The spin-out holds the
exclusive licence to the intellectual property currently owned and
managed by Isis Innovation Ltd, the University of Oxford’s research
commercialisation company. The support from Changzhou City government
includes laboratory space in a new science business incubation centre
managed by Isis and additional funding for key workers.

The joint venture, Oxford Vacmedix HK, will take an exclusive licence
to four disease indications, for greater China from Oxford Vacmedix UK
and the initial focus of the technology development will be on these.
Oxford Vacmedix HK will be eligible to access up to 2 million RMB in
funding from Changzhou Government.

Tom Hockaday, MD of Isis Innovation, said: “We saw the potential of
Dr. Jiang’s work and supported it using funds managed by Isis to
develop the research to the point of being industrially relevant. As
the vaccine technology receives the international recognition it
deserves, having an Isis base in China has been vital in facilitating
the joint venture. Oxford Vacmedix is now best placed to enter markets
where a cost effective solution will mean accessibility to those who
are most vulnerable.”

Oxford Vacmedix will use the investment to prepare the technology for
application initially in two infectious diseases, tuberculosis and
HPV, followed by other infectious diseases and as a cancer vaccine
against Survivin, a protein implicated in cancer. The company will
prepare a technical dossier and drug master file, aiming to establish
partnerships or licenses for further development of these vaccines in

The CEO and investor, Dr Hong Hoi Ting, who will be leading the
business and technology validation said: “We are extremely excited
about the opportunity to commercially develop this Oxford technology
in a region where its potential impact on healthcare is huge. This
business allows us to continue building links between Oxford and
China, taking advantage of the best of both and to realise the
commercial potential in the technology.”

Another partner in the Oxford Vacmedix joint venture is RTC
Innovation, a Birmingham based firm that commercialises early stage
technology, specialising in international partnerships. Dr Jian Cao,
the Director of RTC Innovation said: “From the onset we have been keen
to work with Isis to promote the importance of recombinant overlapping
peptide technology. Now, as the company is spun out, we are very happy
to be a partner and look forward to developing this technology into

~ ENDS ~

Formatted Release

On the Isis News Page

About Isis Innovation

Isis Innovation is the research and technology commercialisation
company of the University of Oxford. The Technology Transfer and
Oxford University Consulting divisions provide access to technological
developments and expertise from University of Oxford researchers,
through intellectual property licensing, spin-out company formation,
material sales and consulting.

Isis is the highest University patent filer in the UK, has attracted
investment into over 65 spin-out companies since 2000, and in the last
financial year provided expertise to over 150 clients in 22 countries.
Through the Isis Enterprise division, Isis offers innovation
management to university, government and industrial clients around the
world. For updates on innovations from Oxford, follow Isis on LinkedIn
and Twitter or subscribe at

Enquiries to:

Dr Chandra Ramanujan

Business Relationships Manager

Isis Innovation Ltd

T: +44 (0)1865 614434

About RTC

RTC Innovation Ltd is established to bridge the gap between industry
and cutting edge technology developed from academic and research
institutes. We are involved in negotiation of technology transfer
between university researchers and industry. We identify the
commercial potential of research and exploit novel technology arising
in university research to the marketplace. We provide detailed
information on various technology commercialisation strategies and
market opportunities for industry to address their greatest technology
challenges and achieve long term growth.

RTC Innovation Ltd

Birmingham Science Park Aston,iBIC,

Holt Court South, Jennies Road,


B7 4EJ, UK

T: +44 (0)121 2503610


Publisher Contact Information:

Isis Innovation
+44 (0)1865 614434

Company profile of Isis Innovation
Past press releases of Isis Innovation.


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