ArkVax secures investment to develop vaccine technology

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Spin out company has sights set on affordable vaccines for the livestock industry

ArkVax, a spin out company from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has secured seed investment from Start Codon, a venture capital investor and venture builder based in Cambridge (UK).

The investment will enable ArkVax to both grow its team and develop its vaccine platform technology to proof of concept, initially for use in animals.

Several of the safest and most effective human vaccines involve purifying a complex sugar (known as a glycan) from a disease-causing bacterium, and chemically attaching this to a carrier protein. Chemical glycoconjugate vaccines have proven to be highly successful with excellent safety and efficacy profiles. However, the chemical method makes these vaccines expensive to produce and hence have never been commercially developed for use in animals. ArkVax is set to change this by directly producing recombinant glycoconjugate vaccines in bacterial cells.

Apart from protecting animals against disease and the associated economic advantages, vaccines against zoonotic pathogens directly benefit human health. Also, improved animal vaccines will reduce the considerable antibiotic usage in the livestock industry and the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Professor Brendan Wren, co-founder of ArkVax said: “Our vaccine technology platform promises to transform the veterinary industry. We will produce inexhaustible supplies of recombinant vaccines against multiple diseases at low cost.”

Dr Jon Cuccui

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