The Future of Vaccines R&D
Posted on 03/07/2018
Imperial College London alongside the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) held an event focussing on R&D in the field of vaccine manufacturing and the new Imperial-led EPSRC Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub.
Marcel Kuiper from KTN gave an overview of the open Innovate UK competitions which may be relevant to academics and organisations from the field of vaccines. Such competitions could support the development of their innovations.
Professor Robin Shattock of Imperial College, who is leading the EPSRC Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub, discussed the hub’s ambitions. Over the next seven years the hub aims to:
- design production systems that can produce tens of thousands of new doses within weeks of a new threat being identified
- improve the way vaccines are manufactured, stabilised and stored so that existing and new diseases can be prevented effectively, and costs reduced.
To achieve this the Hub will work with UK and international “spokes” from academia and industry. The Hub offers opportunities for interactions and partnerships via a Research Passport Scheme. If this is of interest, please contact Karma (Operations Director for the Hub) at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mobile: 07486 545 551.
Dr Tarit Mukhopadhyay of University College London (UCL) highlighted another potential Hub, led by UCL and the University of Oxford, which has also applied for EPSRC funding. The aim of this Hub would be to complement the Imperial Hub and to use novel technologies to secure the future of essential vaccines.
Sam Stephen discussed the work of the Centre for Process Innovation’s National Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Darlington. Sam explained the remit of this national resource, as well as the specific capabilities in viral vaccines and associated areas. He also provided a case study on Adeno-Associated Virus vectors for gene therapy use.
A number of fantastic poster presentations were given from experts in the vaccine field:
- John Tregoning (Imperial College London) focussed on collaborative contract research using animal models of respiratory infection.
- Nicola Stonehouse (University of Leeds) presented on production and characterisation of virus-like particles as vaccine candidates.
- Arturo Reyes-Sandoval (University of Oxford) discussed vaccine development against emerging pathogens using replication-deficient adenoviruses.
- Michael Jarvis (University of Plymouth/The Vaccine Group) spoke on herpesvirus-based vaccination for infectious disease and cancer.
- Jason Hallet (Imperial College London) discussed his poster, “Improving the storage-lifetime of therapeutic proteins by surface engineering”.
After an animated networking session, Peter Laing from Excivion demonstrated his company’s approach to developing new vaccines. This included the development of molecularly designed glycan-cloaked virus-like particle vaccines against Dengue and Zika viruses.
Sonia Paglius, of the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network in Switzerland, flew over to discuss the network’s achievements in expanding developing countries’ capabilities to produce vaccines for their populations. This was achieved through strong collaborations and partnerships; for instance, between the WHO, universities including Imperial College London, and suppliers such as GE Healthcare. Al Edwards from the University of Reading continued on the theme of collaboration, introducing a new project between the university and Anglo Biopharma. It focusses on the rapid development of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome vaccines using the university’s fusion protein vaccine discovery platform.
We also learned of other technologies supporting the development of new vaccines. Paul Kellam (Kymab and Imperial College London) introduced his company’s Kymouse which has been genetically modified to develop a human-like immunoglobulin repertoire. This model can test vaccine candidates for their ability to develop human antibody responses. Paul showed data from The Scripps Research Institute on HIV, demonstrating the value of this technology for vaccine development.
The final presentation of the day was delivered by Amanda McMurray who presented Activirosomes’ work on the development of vaccines against Chikungunya, Ebola and Zika, using a measles-based active virosomes platform. Robin Shattock closed the day with an engaging discussion session which also covered next steps. We are looking forward to finding out the progress being made through this new EPSRC Hub.
If you would like further information, please contact Marcel Kuiper, Knowledge Transfer Manager—Health.