6 February 2018

Stabilitech wins second round of Innovate UK funding for oral Zika vaccine

STABILITECH BIOPHARMA LTD (“Stabilitech”), a UK biotechnology company developing next generation vaccines and biopharmaceuticals, has been awarded further funding of £1.98m from Innovate UK to develop its oral Zika virus vaccine to first-in-human ready by 2020.

Government agency Innovate UK, investing through its Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), first supported Stabilitech’s oral Zika vaccine programme in 2016 under round one of the Vaccines for Global Epidemics scheme.

Backed by the first funding round, Stabilitech demonstrated protective systemic immunity from oral vaccination in non-clinical models. The vaccine immunity appeared equivalent to natural immunity gained from prior exposure to the active Zika virus. Vaccine candidates were shipped from the UK to Brazil without a cold-chain and remained efficacious, demonstrating Stabilitech’s renowned thermal stability technologies.

“We are delighted to have received this further funding from Innovate UK to take our Zika development to the next level.” said Stabilitech CEO, Wayne Channon. “Our aim is to use our technology to develop self-administrable oral vaccines that can be easily distributed on a worldwide basis. The Zika virus, which can cause devastating effects if caught during pregnancy, and for which there is no vaccine available, is an excellent target for our platform.”

Stabilitech’s Zika vaccine is being developed on the company’s OraPro™ platform, producing thermally stable capsules delivering the vaccine to the intestine. Upon reaching the GI tract, the capsule releases viral-vectors engineered to deliver a DNA payload to transduce Zika virus antigens from GI cells, ultimately inducing protective systemic immunity.

“Our oral Zika vaccine provides protection against two Zika virus antigens, better mimicking natural immunity. Additionally our vaccine also reduces the requirement of cold-chain logistics, the use of needles and the level of involvement of healthcare professionals during vaccination campaigns,” said Elliot Bland, Ph.D., Director of Business Development at Stabilitech. “We look forward to accelerating our development towards the clinic with this new funding from Innovate UK.”