University of Oxford receives funding

University of Oxford receives funding

  • 30/03/2021

CARB-X is awarding up to US$2 million to the Jenner Institute, part of the University of Oxford, UK, to develop a novel vaccine to prevent gonorrhea.

CARB-X is awarding up to US$2 million to the Jenner Institute, part of the University of Oxford, UK, to develop a novel vaccine to prevent gonorrhea, a common sexually-transmitted bacterial infection that has developed resistance to most antibiotics. Under the award, the Institute would be eligible for up to $5.3 million more if the project progresses through certain project milestones, subject to available funding.

Their findings to date suggest the vaccine would prevent infections from different strains of gonococcal bacteria, including the most powerful multidrug-resistant strains that are spreading globally at an alarming pace.

“Because of antibiotic resistance, treating gonorrhea is challenging and in some cases not possible because of a lack of antibiotics that are effective,” said Erin Duffy, Chief of Research and Development of CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership led by Boston University and dedicated to funding and supporting the development of innovative products to address antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. “Vaccines are powerful tools in the prevention of bacterial infections. Jenner’s vaccine project is an exciting approach which, if successful, could prevent the disease, and significantly curb the spread of resistant bacteria across the globe.”

“The Jenner Institute at Oxford University is delighted to be partnering with CARB-X in the development of a new vaccine against gonorrhea, which will be an important weapon in the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria,“ said Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the  Jenner Institute.  The Jenner Institute is well known for its recent success in leading the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

“This is an exciting investment in cutting-edge UK research at the University of Oxford to find new vaccines to tackle the threat of antimicrobial resistance,” Lord Bethell, the UK Minister for Innovation, said about the CARB-X award, which is funded in part by the UK government along with other partners. “AMR has the potential to affect all countries, and all our lives so this global challenge needs a global solution. That’s why the UK is providing funding (via CARB-X) to develop a vaccine which could bring a new solution to this dangerous problem.”

Innovative science

Jenner‘s gonorrhea vaccine, dmGC_0817560 NOMV, consists of blebs, or fluid-filled blisters, from the outer surface of gonococcus, called Native Outer Membrane Vesicles (NOMV). Working alongside the Oxford Vaccine Group, researchers aim to produce an affordable vaccine for global use. The intent is that the vaccine will induce protective immunity against gonorrhea that will prevent individuals from developing the disease and also interrupt the spread of antibiotic resistance found in gonococcal bacteria.  The project is currently in Lead Optimization, a crucial early development phase in which the most promising preclinical vaccine candidate is identified. The CARB-X award is supporting optimization work and scale-up, followed by production of vaccine in the University’s Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility for a first-in-human study.

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