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ArkVax secures investment to develop vaccine technology

Spin out company has sights set on affordable vaccines for the livestock industry
Brendan Wren discusses spinout ArkVax

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, co-founder of ArkVax said: “We are delighted that Start codon has chosen to join us on this journey. It is affirmation of the hard work that we as founders and many others have put into this venture. We look forward to working together to establish Arkvax as a significant force in the field.”

 

About ArkVax

ArkVax is a vaccine candidate development company which aims to create vaccines and test them directly in target animals. The company founders have worked for over a decade in the development of the field of glycoengineering. The technology has been developed and funded by over £10M of academic grants from the Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

About Start Codon

Start Codon is a venture capital investor and venture builder based in Cambridge, England that supports aspiring entrepreneurs to spin out and/or help in the development and commercialisation of their disruptive innovations. In doing so, Start Codon aims to help entrepreneurs craft their vision into thriving companies that improve people’s lives and address unmet needs.

Start Codon invests a minimum of £250,000 into each of its portfolio companies. In addition, all of its portfolio companies and their founders are enrolled into Start Codon’s unique and innovative START™ venture building programme. Through this, Start Codon provides a combination of access to a dedicated and experienced team, focused learning sessions and events, connections to mentors who are leaders in their field, and the ability to access an extensive network of investors, pharma and biotech partners, commercial partners, collaborators and facilities.

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