Imperial College biotech startup raises $ 4.8 million for future-proof vaccines

Imperial College biotech startup raises $ 4.8 million for future-proof vaccines

Baseimmune recently partnered with DNA vaccine company Touchlight to develop a universal coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Getty

Baseimmune, an Imperial College biotech startup that aims to create the “next generation of future-proof universal vaccines” against health threats, including COVID, malaria and African swine fever, has raised $ 4.8 million (£ 3.5 million).

The investment round, led by Hoxton Ventures, will allow the company to develop more vaccines and expand the number of diseases it is able to tackle.

The round also included leading investors in the early round Creator Fund along with Cherry Ventures, Beast Ventures, Rockmount Seed Investments and Maki.vc.

“Through COVID, we have all learned the importance of having effective and rapidly evolving vaccines. With its unique software platform, Baseimmune sets the bar by leveraging AI to innovate vaccine therapies.” said Hussein Kanji, partner at Hoxton Venture.

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The company said the pandemic has embarked on a “vaccine research renaissance” backed by the creation of new vaccine delivery systems and robust worldwide production pipelines, adding that the global vaccine market is expected to reach $ 108 billion. in 2027.

Baseimmune explained that most vaccine antigens are based on a single pathogen component, such as the nail protein from COVID SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which limits their effectiveness and ability to cope with new variants.

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It believes that its vaccine design algorithm shatters genomic, epidemiological, immunological, clinical and evolutionary data to create “completely new synthetic antigens that contain all the parts of the pathogen that are most likely to elicit a strong protective immune response.”

It refers to these as “pick and mix” antigens, which it said presents the immune system with a toolbox of everything it probably needs to know about how to recognize and respond to a particular pathogen, both now and in the future.

The antigen designers can then be fed into any vaccine technology platform, including mRNA, DNA and viral vectors, to create universal future-proof vaccines that should be effective against all current and probable variants.

Baseimmune recently partnered with DNA vaccine company Touchlight to develop a universal coronavirus vaccine aimed at tackling the emergence of new variants and preventing future pandemics.

The company grew out of research by Josh Blight and Ariane Gomes, who met while doing their PhDs at the Jenner Institute at Oxford University and teamed up with software engineer Phillip Kemlo to build the antigen signal algorithm.

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