iQur Ltd Leads Major European Project to Develop a Universal Influenza Virus Vaccine
7/31/2013 9:32:30 AM
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London, 31 July 2013: iQur, the UK biotechnology company, is pleased to announce that it has been granted €5m by the European Union Framework 7 fund to develop a “universal” influenza vaccine based on its proprietary tandem core™ technology.
Influenza represents a major global health challenge, killing around 36,000 people per year and has a total economic burden of $87bn in the USA alone. Currently, influenza vaccines must be re-designed each year to match changes in the virus.
iQur will lead a consortium of world-leading scientists from six sites across Europe, which have the complimentary skills and experience to discover and develop a novel flu vaccine. At the centre of the project is iQur’s novel technology, which will enable the design of a vaccine for influenza with the potential to confer long-term protection, removing the need for annual vaccination. Furthermore iQur’s vaccine can be made using recombinant protein technology and should be more effective and cheaper to manufacture than conventional vaccines.
The consortium partners include Leeds University and University College London from the UK, CRP Santé from Luxemburg, the Latvijas Medicinal Centre from Latvia, 3P Pharmaceuticals and Institut Catala de la Salut, both from Spain. The consortium will develop an optimal vaccine using preclinical models, manufacture the product to GMP and finally carry out a Phase I clinical trial. It is anticipated that the project will reach completion in 2017.
Professor William Rosenberg, CEO of iQur Ltd., said: “iQur’s tandem core technology is a powerful vaccine platform. This award recognises our successful “Proof of Concept” studies that demonstrated that a tandem core vaccine carrying invariant influenza antigens confers protection from lethal influenza challenge in mice. We are confident that working with our consortium colleagues, we will be able to design and optimise a very potent new defence against pandemic influenza. The scientific excellence of our partners, and the funding from the European Union, will allow us to make this much needed vaccine a reality.”
About iQur: is a London based biotechnology company, founded in April 2003 as a spin-out from the University of Southampton Liver group. Initially focused solely on liver disease, the company has focused on the development of its novel tandem core vaccine platform and applied it to a variety of diseases. More information may be found at www.iqur.com.
About Tandem Core Technology: iQur’s next generation vaccine platform can be used to develop vaccines that generate strong immunity to a range of different diseases. The tandem core technology is derived from the core protein found in hepatitis B virus (HBV). This protein readily forms virus like particles (VLP) which are used in several major vaccines currently on the market. VLPs are particularly attractive since they contain only protein and have no possibility of transferring potentially infectious viral nucleic acid. The core protein is very immunogenic (stimulating) and can lead to powerful immune responses. Furthermore, when other disease targets are inserted into the core protein, these too generate strong immune responses. However, the technology has a major limitation due to the instability of the VLP formed from these hybrid core molecules; an unstable VLP cannot generate strong immune responses. iQur’s next generation tandem core platform allows large inserts to be incorporated into the VLP resulting in a stable structure. These tandem core VLPs can then be used to generate strong and long-lasting immunity.
For further information, please contact:
Professor William Rosenberg, CEO
Tel: +44 20 7691 1122
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