In June 2023 VaxEquity and CPI announced a grant of around £700k from Innovate UK, which will fund a collaborative project to advance RNA vaccines and therapeutics manufacturing. VaxEquity is a UK-based biotechnology company dedicated to the development of next-generation self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) and mRNA therapeutics and vaccines. CPI is a technology innovation centre that “acts as a catalyst” to unite academia, business, government, and investors to “translate bright ideas” into the marketplace. Innovate UK is the national innovation agency for UK regions, supporting business-led innovation across all sectors.  

Targeting an influenza vaccine 

The project in question will investigate optimised conditions for scalability in the manufacturing of saRNA with the intention of progressing a candidate influenza vaccine into clinical trials. A statement from VaxEquity refers to a 2020 statistic from the government that indicates that flu is responsible for around 11,000 deaths every in England, hospitalising many more patients.  

Dr Tim Sparey is VaxEquity’s Managing Director and suggests that the “potential of nucleic acids as vaccines and therapeutics is only just being realised”.  

“This powerful collaboration with CPI, fuelled by Innovate UK, starts with a giant step forward in scaling the manufacturing of a novel saRNA influenza vaccine.” 

With “combined skill and capabilities”, Dr Sparey intends to see “real benefit in the fight against flu”. 

“This collaboration will identify, establish, and protect an optimised process for saRNA manufacture, which should open up the global horizon to many future vaccines and therapeutics.”  

Dr Brendan Fish, Director of Biologics and RNA Centre of Excellence at the CPI reflected that they are “delighted to be teaming up” with VaxEquity to “help ensure the promise of the post-pandemic push for global RNA vaccines is fulfilled”.  

“Through use of our RNA Centre of Excellence we will identify key factors in saRNA manufacturing to fine-tune and accelerate the process of saRNA transcription in batch processes, pioneering the path to the more efficient production of future saRNA vaccines.” 

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