Since being formed less than a year ago, TVG has secured more than £9million in funding and made significant progress towards developing a range of vaccines.
Trials in rabbits of a prototype bovine mastitis vaccine have demonstrated the technology’s ability to deliver strong, targeted immune responses. Vaccines to combat bovine tuberculosis and African Swine Fever Virus are about to enter initial animal trials, and US government-backed work to develop vaccines to tackle Ebola and Lassa fever is making good progress.
Dr Jarvis’ work is based on benign forms of herpesviruses, a group of viruses found in all animals, including humans. The vaccines are created by inserting a non-infectious region of DNA from the pathogen being targeted into the herpesvirus, which then stimulates an immune response against the disease when delivered into animals.
“By developing vaccines for animals, rather than solely for humans, you are potentially tackling any future outbreaks at source. Development of this particular vaccine has just been started and it is expected to be in animal studies before the end of the year. Although this will be too late for the current outbreak, the diversity of animal reservoirs and genetic variability of COVID-19 and related coronaviruses mean it could give rise to future pandemics. An animal vaccine could help prevent this from happening, although we still don’t know the animal species involved in the spillover of the current COVID-19 into humans.”
TVG is supported by the University’s commercialisation partner, Frontier IP, and earlier this year the company completed a £680,000 equity fund raise that valued TVG at £9.5million. The funds are being used directly to accelerate technology development.
Frontier IP Chief Executive Officer Neil Crabb said:
“The announcement shows TVG has been making great progress to date in meeting the compelling need for vaccines to tackle diseases with profound human and economic costs. The range of vaccines now under development and the success of trials so far proves the technology could be potent in tackling a wide variety of diseases that jump from animals to humans or are damaging economically. We’re working closely with the Company to accelerate its vital work.”