University spin-out company addresses new vaccines

Dr Michael Jarvis

The University of Plymouth has launched a new spin-out company which will address new vaccines for diseases which spread from animals to humans and for use in infection control.

Governments, pharmaceutical companies and supranational bodies are showing increasing concern about emerging infectious diseases. The Vaccine Group will exploit technology developed by Dr Michael Jarvis, Associate Professor in Virology and Immunology at the University of Plymouth, who specialises in the creative design of herpesvirus-based vaccines for the control of disease.

The Vaccine Group aims to commercialise new vaccine platforms for the development of vaccines for use in infection control (such as bovine tuberculosis) and for a rapid response to pathogens which unpredictably cross the species barrier and pose a significant threat to human health. Target pathogens include avian influenza A, Ebola and Marburg viruses, MERS and SARS coronaviruses and Rift Valley fever virus.

Dr Jarvis’ work has previously received funding from a number of sources, including UK Innovate, National Institutes of Health and the Medical Research Council. Initial work in The Vaccine Group will focus on herpesvirus-based platforms suitable for use in animals, to protect human health by targeting the animal species from which disease is transmitted to humans, for vaccination (termed zoonoses barrier vaccines). Future developments will include vaccines for use in humans.

Dr Michael Jarvis, Chief Scientific Officer of The Vaccine Group, said: 

“My laboratory has nearly 20 years’ experience in the development of vaccines based on herpesvirus-based technology. Science is a collaborative endeavour, and The Vaccine Group provides a new vehicle by which we can interact with fellow scientists, industry and investors to prevent emergence of infectious diseases relevant to global human health and agriculture.”

The Vaccine Group is supported by the University of Plymouth and the Frontier IP Group plc, which specialises in assisting institutions and companies in the commercialisation and exploitation of their intellectual property.