Emergex Vaccines and George Mason University Identify T-Cell Epitopes Presented by SARS-Cov-2 Infected Cells

  • First detailed, empirical analysis of Class 1 epitopes presented by SARS-Cov-2 infected cells which define the T-Cell repertoire necessary for cytotoxic T-Cell function
  • MHC expression library provides an accurate basis for COVID-19 T-Cell vaccine and related diagnostics development

Doylestown PA, USA and Abingdon, Oxon, UK, 15 September 2020– Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (‘Emergex’), a company tackling major global infectious disease threats through the development of synthetic ‘set point’ vaccines which prime the T-Cell immune response, today announces the determination of a Class I MHC expression library, or ligandome, for SARS-Cov-2 infected cells, in collaboration with George Mason University (‘GMU’), National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, Virginia, USA.

During the collaboration researchers at GMU grew SARS-Cov-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, in human cells expressing ACE-2 representing six HLA supertypes. The MHC Class I peptide expression library for cell surface expressed Class I molecules and the precursors for internal Class I bound peptides feeding the surface pool were determined using Emergex’s proprietary immunoproteomics 2-D liquid chromatography mass-spectrometry platform at Emergex Vaccines, USA.

The library of approximately 30,000 Class I bound viral-derived peptides contains the first detailed empirical data for Class I epitopes that are presented by a SARS-Co-2 infected cell (potential T-Cell target cell) and therefore defines the T-Cell repertoire necessary for CD8+ cytotoxic T-Cells to perform their kill-and-clear function of an infected cell.

The most abundant viral derived subset of peptides (COVID-19 ligandome) was determined by reference to all possible positive and negative strand RNA derived peptides without sequence bias. The library also provides a search tool to determine the physical presence of any predicted expression of a SARS-Cov-2 derived peptide sequence at mass accuracy of approximately 10 ppm. Details of the library have potentially significant implications for the development of T-Cell targeted COVID-19 vaccines and also T-Cell memory diagnostic reagents which can definitively determine the pre-exposure history of COVID-19. The data revealed “hot spots” of Class I peptide derived from open reading frames (ORFs) of the proteome not previously identified in the literature and demonstrated the lack of concordance between the empirical method and in silico or inference (megapools) methodologies.

Emergex will apply the insight gained in this study in its onoing programme to generate a second generation COVID-19 vaccine which is intended to generate a lasting and safe cellular immune response. Emergex’s next generation vaccines have been designed to expand the body’s natural immune response by programming CD8+ T-Cells to rapidly recognise and respond to pathogens. This approach is aimed at providing effective prevention of disease while eliminating the allergic, autoimmune or antibody mediated side effects associated with traditional vaccines. Clinical trials of the first Emergex COVID-19 vaccine candidate are intended to start in Q4 2020.

Professor Thomas Rademacher, CEO and co-founder of Emergex, commented: “It is increasingly clear that T-Cell responses to SARS-Cov-2 are the major if not dominant factor in the immune response to COVID-19 infection and a vaccine which can safely and effectively harness this
response could be critical to controlling the pandemic. Studies on T-Cell memory recall to predicted peptides in convalescent COVID-19 individuals have inferred the presence of a strong T-Cell response in these patients. However, some studies suggest healthy and asymptomatic individuals also appear to have a previous T-Cell memory response to COVID-19 making the origin and diversity of this memory response ambiguous.”

Dr. Xiaofang Huang, Leading Scientist, Emergex Vaccines USA, commented: “To date only computer predictions or data from screening of 15-20-mer pools and megapools of peptides derived from spike protein or extensive regions of the SARS-Cov-2 proteome for recall responses have been used to infer the identity of the CD4 T-Cell epitopes on SARS-Cov-2. Neither approach can definitively conclude that a CD8+ T-Cell response against SAR-Cov-2 infection has occurred, since the actual viral targets are unknown and computer predictions are required to anlayze the pools for Class I epitopes.
“Our empirically determined library provides a rational basis for CD8+ T-Cell vaccine and T-Cell diagnostics development. We believe this is a significant step towards an effective vaccine and look forward to progressing our programme in the coming months.”

Dr. Aarthi Narayanan, Associate Professor of Systems Biology in George Mason University’s College of Science, added: “This is an exciting and highly pertinent approach to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 which takes into account the critical need for a robust and targeted T-Cell response to elicit functional immunity. We are excited to be working with Emergex on this venture.”

– Ends –

For further information, please contact:

At the Company
Emergex
Storme Moore-Thornicroft, Executive Director
Phone: +44 (0)1235 527589
Email: smt@emergexvaccines.com
Consilium Strategic Communications
Chris Gardner / Sue Stuart / Carina Jurs
Phone: +44 (0)20 3709 5700
Email: Emergex@consilium-comms.com

About Emergex

Emergex, a UK-based biotechnology company headquartered in Abingdon, UK, is pioneering the development of synthetic ‘set point’ vaccines which prime the T-Cell immune response to address some of the world’s most immediate health threats such as COVID-19, Dengue Fever, Zika, Ebola, pandemic flu and serious intra-cellular bacterial infections.

These set-point vaccines modify the initial immune status of recipients in a way that ‘primes’ their immune systems to recognise subsequent infectious agents much like a natural infection would do, preventing an acute or severe manifestation of the disease.

Emergex combines validated technologies together with the very latest scientific insights to develop its vaccines, including using synthetic peptide codes determined on actual infected cells and using a proprietary gold nanoparticle carrier system for programming.

The Company has a growing pipeline of vaccine candidates. The most advanced development programme is a vaccine for Dengue Fever, which may also be disease modifying for other Flaviviruses such as the Zika and Yellow Fever viruses. Emergex also has programmes in development for a universal Influenza vaccine and a universal Filovirus vaccine (including viruses such as Ebola and Marburg) and discovery programmes for a Yellow Fever Booster vaccine and a Chikungunya vaccine.

Emergex has partnered with the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) of Singapore to develop a vaccine for the emerging threat of Hand, Foot and Mouth (HFM) disease and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Brazil-based Oswaldo Cruz Foundation ‘Fiocruz’ for the development of viral vaccines. This initially covers the development of a vaccine that universally
targets diseases within the flavivirus family such as Dengue Fever, Zika and Yellow Fever but could be expanded to include the development of vaccines to target other viral families that are endemic to the region.

Find out more online at www.emergexvaccines.com.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 37,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.

The Institute for Biohealth Innovation (IBI) promotes and supports biohealth-related research activities of faculty, staff, and students at George Mason University. The IBI connects Mason researchers in biohealth with potential collaborators, both within the university and externally, to advance human health research. Learn more and hear more from our researchers at ibi.gmu.edu.

The College of Science at Mason is a leader in scientific discovery creating innovative solutions for the rapidly-changing needs of today’s world. Mason’s College of Science blends traditional science education with sought-after programs in disciplines as diverse as personalized medicine, infectious diseases, geoinformatics, climate dynamics, materials science, astronomy, forensic science, and applied mathematics. The College encourages meaningful education and research at all levels offering innovative undergraduate programs, minors, certificates, and graduate degree opportunities, as well as global, transfer-focused, and online, or hybrid, programs that allow professionals the opportunity to reskill or change careers. Learn more at science.gmu.edu.

George Mason University Biomedical Research Laboratory is one of thirteen Regional Biocontainment Laboratories constructed with funding support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health (NIAID/NIH). The BRL is a state-of-the-art laboratory with biosafety level 3 and aerosolization capabilities where scientists perform pioneering research of infectious diseases, both emerging and potential bio threat agents. Learn more at ncbid.gmu.edu

Emergex Vaccines forms US subsidiary (Emergex USA) by acquisition of laboratories, technology and assets of US-based T cell specialist biotech ImmProNano

  • Acquisition brings critical technical pre-clinical vaccine development capabilities in-house and establishes US based Emergex subsidiary
  • Emergex uniquely develops novel 100% synthetic ‘set-point’ T cell priming vaccines to address some of the world’s most pathogenic infectious diseases
  • Current COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing threat of pandemic flu demonstrate urgent global need for safe, effective vaccines which can be rapidly developed and deployed

Abingdon, UK, 1 September 2020 – Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (‘Emergex’), a company tackling major global infectious disease threats through the development of synthetic ‘set point’ vaccines which prime the T cell immune response, today announces that it has significantly strengthened its technology platform and formed US subsidiary, Emergex USA, by acquiring the laboratories, technology and assets of US-based biotech ImmProNano Inc. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

ImmProNano (IPN), based in Doylestown, PA is a specialist contract research organization in the field of Human Leukocyte Antigen T cell immunology and immunoproteomics, utilizing state of the art mass-spectrometry to determine Class I major histocompatibility complex expression libraries of viral infected cells. These libraries are critical to the development of vaccines to high pathogen viruses and intracellular bacteria. IPN also has unparalleled expertise in the T cell immunology of infectious disease and T cell vaccine development.

IPN has completed all pre-clinical testing in animals and ex vivo human samples for Emergex’s recent vaccine programs including Francisella tularensis, Yellow fever, Zika, Dengue, Influenza and COVID-19.

ImmProNano’s laboratory facilities and key employees will now form Emergex’s US subsidiary. The team will continue to work closely with Emergex’s state of the art UK R&D facility and also form critical interactions with Emergex’s other vaccine collaborators at George Mason University, USA and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology of Singapore (A*STAR).

Storme Moore-Thornicroft, co-founder and COO of Emergex, commented: “ImmProNano has been a trusted partner for several years, their deep expertise in T cell immunology complementing our novel approach to vaccine development. This acquisition establishes a US base and brings together key elements of the vaccine development process in-house, an important next step as we look to advance promising vaccine candidates in areas including Dengue Fever, pandemic flu and other globally important infectious diseases. The critical need for the ability to develop and manufacture potent vaccines in a timely and cost-effective manner has never been clearer and today’s agreement ensures Emergex is well placed to meet this goal.”

– Ends –

For further information, please contact:

At the Company
Emergex
Storme Moore-Thornicroft, Executive Director
Phone: +44 (0)1235 527589
Email: smt@emergexvaccines.com
Consilium Strategic Communications
Chris Gardner / Sue Stuart / Carina Jurs
Phone: +44 (0)20 3709 5700
Email: Emergex@consilium-comms.com

About Emergex

Emergex, a UK-based biotechnology company headquartered in Abingdon, UK, is pioneering the development of synthetic ‘set point’ vaccines which prime the T cell immune response to address some of the world’s most immediate health threats such as Dengue Fever, Zika, Ebola, pandemic flu and serious intra-cellular bacterial infections.

These set-point vaccines modify the initial immune status of recipients in a way that ‘primes’ their immune systems to recognise subsequent infectious agents much like a natural infection would do, preventing an acute or severe manifestation of the disease.

Emergex combines validated technologies together with the very latest scientific insights to develop its vaccines, including using synthetic peptide codes determined on actual infected cells and using a proprietary gold nanoparticle carrier system for programming.

The Company has a growing pipeline of vaccine candidates. The most advanced development programme is a vaccine for Dengue Fever, which may also be disease modifying for other Flaviviruses such as the Zika and Yellow Fever viruses. Emergex also has programmes in development for a universal Influenza vaccine and a universal Filovirus vaccine (including viruses such as Ebola and Marburg) and discovery programmes for a Yellow Fever Booster vaccine and a Chikungunya vaccine.

Emergex has partnered with the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) of Singapore to develop a vaccine for the emerging threat of Hand, Foot and Mouth (HFM) disease and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Brazil-based Oswaldo Cruz Foundation ‘Fiocruz’ for the development of viral vaccines. This initially covers the development of a vaccine that universally targets diseases within the flavivirus family such as Dengue Fever, Zika and Yellow Fever but could be expanded to include the development of vaccines to target other viral families that are endemic to the region.

Find out more online at www.emergexvaccines.com.

Emergex and Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz Elucidate T Cell Epitopes Produced by Commercial Yellow Fever Vaccine

  • First identification of epitopes which shape CD8 T cell response to commercial live attenuated vaccine has implications across RNA virus vaccine development
  • Vaccine primes immune system against T cell epitopes that would be minor or subdominant in a natural infection and are derived from internal proteins

Abingdon, UK and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 August 2020 – Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (‘Emergex’), a company tackling major global infectious disease threats through the development of synthetic ‘set point’ vaccines which prime the T cell immune response, and researchers at the Institute of Technology on Immunobiologicals of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz), today announce the determination of the MHC CD8 T cell epitope expression library for Fiocruz’s commercial yellow fever vaccine on six major HLA supertypes.

This epitope library, which is expressed on Class I molecules of cells infected with the vaccine virus, shapes the CD8 T cell repertoire that will generate immunity to future exposure to wild type yellow fever virus.

The results unexpectedly showed that despite the high molar abundance of the surface E glycoprotein, no T cell epitopes are derived from the E protein of yellow fever vaccine virus. All epitopes ranging in peptide size of 8 – 15aa were derived from internal proteins. This result contrasts with Emergex determined CD8 T cell expression libraries for wild type Dengue and Zika viruses in which epitopes from the analogous E proteins were found.

These results represent a first analysis of T cell epitopes produced by a live attenuated commercial vaccine and provide new insight into the mechanism of action of such vaccines. The results also have implications for the current development of COVID-19 vaccines that rely on a clinically relevant CD8 T cell response to epitopes derived from the spike glycoprotein.

Professor Thomas Rademacher, CEO and co-founder of Emergex, commented: “Live attenuated viral vaccines are universally recognized as the only vaccines produced to date that can safely control RNA viral infections. However, vaccines such as yellow fever, measles, and polio were all empirically developed by multiple passage in cell lines with the original yellow fever vaccine dating back to 1926. Recent deep sequencing studies of quasi species diversity of yellow fever and polio vaccines suggest a limit repertoire of variants compared to wild type viruses. These new results now suggest the mechanism by which these low bottleneck vaccines can generate long-term immunity without causing disease, highlighting the critical role of epitopes derived from internal viral proteins in generating a safe, effective and long-lived response. This has important implications for the development of RNA vaccines more widely, including those being developed for COVID-19.”

– Ends –

For further information, please contact:

At the Company
Emergex
Storme Moore-Thornicroft, Executive Director
Phone: +44 (0)1235 527589
Email: smt@emergexvaccines.com
Consilium Strategic Communications
Chris Gardner / Sue Stuart / Carina Jurs
Phone: +44 (0)20 3709 5700
Email: Emergex@consilium-comms.com
At George Mason University
Institute for Biohealth Innovation
Amy Adams
Executive Director
Phone: +1 703-993-2672
Email: avanmete@gmu.edu
College of Science
Tracy Mason
Assistant Dean, Strategic Communications
Phone: +1 703-229-2030
Email: tmason11@gmu.edu

About Emergex
Emergex, a UK-based biotechnology company headquartered in Abingdon, UK, is pioneering the development of set-point vaccines to address some of the world’s most immediate health threats such as Dengue Fever, Zika, Ebola, pandemic flu and serious intra-cellular bacterial infections.

These set-point vaccines are population based and modify the initial immune status of recipients in a way that ‘primes’ their immune systems to recognise subsequent infectious agents much like a natural infection would do, preventing an acute or severe manifestation of the disease.

Emergex combines validated technologies together with the very latest scientific insights to develop its vaccines, including using synthetic peptide codes determined on actual infected cells and using a proprietary gold nanoparticle carrier system for programming.

The Company has a growing pipeline of vaccine candidates. The most advanced development programme is a vaccine for Dengue Fever, which may also be disease modifying for other Flaviviruses such as the Zika and Yellow Fever viruses. Emergex also has programmes in development for a universal Influenza vaccine and a universal Filovirus vaccine (including viruses such as Ebola and Marburg) and discovery programmes for a Yellow Fever Booster vaccine and a Chikungunya vaccine.

Find out more online at www.emergexvaccines.com.

About George Mason University
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 37,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.

The Institute for Biohealth Innovation (IBI) promotes and supports biohealth-related research activities of faculty, staff, and students at George Mason University. The IBI connects Mason researchers in biohealth with potential collaborators, both within the university and externally, to advance human health research. Learn more and hear more from our researchers at ibi.gmu.edu.

The College of Science at Mason is a leader in scientific discovery creating innovative solutions for the rapidly-changing needs of today’s world. Mason’s College of Science blends traditional science education with sought-after programs in disciplines as diverse as personalized medicine, infectious diseases, geoinformatics, climate dynamics, materials science, astronomy, forensic science, and applied mathematics. The College encourages meaningful education and research at all levels offering innovative undergraduate programs, minors, certificates, and graduate degree opportunities, as well as global, transfer-focused, and online, or hybrid, programs that allow professionals the opportunity to reskill or change careers. Learn more at science.gmu.edu.

George Mason University Biomedical Research Laboratory is one of thirteen Regional Biocontainment Laboratories constructed with funding support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health (NIAID/NIH). The BRL is a state-of-the-art laboratory with biosafety level 3 and aerosolization capabilities where scientists perform pioneering research of infectious diseases, both emerging and potential bio threat agents. Learn more at ncbid.gmu.edu.

Emergex Signs Agreement with George Mason University for Highly Pathogenic RNA Virus Studies

  • Emergex Vaccines and George Mason University’s (Mason) National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases (NCBID) enter into an agreement relating to the development of CD8+ priming RNA virus vaccines
  • In particular, NCBID researchers will partner to provide additional expertise, resources, and vital samples to complement Emergex’s existing vaccine programs, including for SARS-CoV-2

Abingdon, UK, 22 April 2020 – Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (‘Emergex’), a biotechnology company developing CD8+ priming set-point vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with the George Mason University, based in Virginia, in the United States.

The agreement specifies that George Mason University’s National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases will provide their unique expertise and resources as a partner in the development of Emergex’s vaccines against highly pathogenic RNA viruses. In particular, George Mason University’s Biosafety 3 capabilities, coupled with their experience in dealing with RNA viruses, means that they are a well-suited collaborator on the vaccine validation studies, as well as the optimization of vaccine design.

Professor Thomas Rademacher, CEO and co-founder of Emergex, commented, “Everyone in the world today has or will be affected by highly pathogenic RNA viruses such as bird flu, Ebola, COVID-19, etc. These viruses have caused significant morbidity and mortality, especially in high-risk groups such as the immunocompromised or elderly. We are therefore very excited to announce today this agreement with George Mason University, which adds an important capability to Emergex’s vaccine program.”

Dr Aarthi Narayanan, Associate Professor of Systems Biology in George Mason University’s College of Science, added, “My colleagues and I are looking forward to partnering with Emergex and we are especially pleased to be lending our expertise to efforts to create a vaccine during these challenging times. As members of the faculty of a premier research university, we work with other thought leaders to address global threats. This is how we make progress, and collaboration is the top priority for the College of Science, the Institute for Biohealth Innovation, and the University as a whole.

Emergex’s set-point vaccines have been designed to offer advantages compared to traditional vaccines. These vaccines modify the initial immune status of the recipients in a way that ‘primes’ their immune systems to recognise subsequent infectious agents much like a natural infection would do, and thus preventing an acute or severe manifestation of the disease. They do this by providing a cell-mediated immune response (a T-cell response) rather than a humoral immune response (an antibody based immune response) which should stimulate longer lasting immunity. They are self-adjuvanted and limit or eliminate the allergic, autoimmune or antibody mediated side effects associated with the traditional vaccines. They are also 100% synthetic and do not contain any RNA or DNA – do not use inactivated or live-attenuated pathogens – and therefore should be inherently safer to develop and use.

– Ends –

For further information, please contact:

At the Company
Emergex
Storme Moore-Thornicroft, Executive Director
Phone: +44 (0)1235 527589
Email: smt@emergexvaccines.com
Instinctif Partners (UK/RoW)
Ashley Tapp / Tim Watson / Agnes Stephens
Phone: +44 (0)20 7457 2020
Mobile: +44 (0)7792 472 293
Email: Emergex@instinctif.com
At George Mason University
Institute for Biohealth Innovation
Amy Adams
Executive Director
Phone: +1 703-993-2672
Email: avanmete@gmu.edu
College of Science
Tracy Mason
Assistant Dean, Strategic Communications
Phone: +1 703-229-2030
Email: tmason11@gmu.edu

About Emergex
Emergex, a UK-based biotechnology company headquartered in Abingdon, UK, is pioneering the development of set-point vaccines to address some of the world’s most immediate health threats such as Dengue Fever, Zika, Ebola, pandemic flu and serious intra-cellular bacterial infections.

These set-point vaccines are population based and modify the initial immune status of recipients in a way that ‘primes’ their immune systems to recognise subsequent infectious agents much like a natural infection would do, preventing an acute or severe manifestation of the disease.

Emergex combines validated technologies together with the very latest scientific insights to develop its vaccines, including using synthetic peptide codes determined on actual infected cells and using a proprietary gold nanoparticle carrier system for programming.

The Company has a growing pipeline of vaccine candidates. The most advanced development programme is a vaccine for Dengue Fever, which may also be disease modifying for other Flaviviruses such as the Zika and Yellow Fever viruses. Emergex also has programmes in development for a universal Influenza vaccine and a universal Filovirus vaccine (including viruses such as Ebola and Marburg) and discovery programmes for a Yellow Fever Booster vaccine and a Chikungunya vaccine.

Find out more online at www.emergexvaccines.com.

About George Mason University
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 37,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.

The Institute for Biohealth Innovation (IBI) promotes and supports biohealth-related research activities of faculty, staff, and students at George Mason University. The IBI connects Mason researchers in biohealth with potential collaborators, both within the university and externally, to advance human health research. Learn more and hear more from our researchers at ibi.gmu.edu.

The College of Science at Mason is a leader in scientific discovery creating innovative solutions for the rapidly-changing needs of today’s world. Mason’s College of Science blends traditional science education with sought-after programs in disciplines as diverse as personalized medicine, infectious diseases, geoinformatics, climate dynamics, materials science, astronomy, forensic science, and applied mathematics. The College encourages meaningful education and research at all levels offering innovative undergraduate programs, minors, certificates, and graduate degree opportunities, as well as global, transfer-focused, and online, or hybrid, programs that allow professionals the opportunity to reskill or change careers. Learn more at science.gmu.edu.

George Mason University Biomedical Research Laboratory is one of thirteen Regional Biocontainment Laboratories constructed with funding support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health (NIAID/NIH). The BRL is a state-of-the-art laboratory with biosafety level 3 and aerosolization capabilities where scientists perform pioneering research of infectious diseases, both emerging and potential bio threat agents. Learn more at ncbid.gmu.edu.

Publication of Coronavirus White Papers

Emergex publishes three White Papers highlighting the case for developing set-point vaccines to create a universal coronavirus vaccine

Emergex Raises More Than US$11 million in a Series A Round to Progress its Pipeline of Set-point Vaccines for Infectious Diseases

  • Emergex develops set-point vaccines to prevent some of the world’s most immediate and virulent diseases such as Zika, Dengue Fever, Ebola and pandemic Flu
  • Vickers Venture Partners led the fundraising and Dr Finian Tan, Chairman of Vickers Venture Partners joins Emergex’s Board of Directors
  • Capital supports pipeline developments, including progressing its first-in-man Flavivirus (Dengue) vaccine through several Phase I clinical trials, its Influenza vaccine (universal and pandemic) through to Phase I clinical trials and significantly advancing its Filovirus vaccine towards the clinic

Abingdon, UK, 9 January 2020 – Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (‘Emergex’), a biotechnology company developing set-point vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases, today announced that it has secured over US$11 million in a Series A round. Vickers Venture Partners (‘Vickers’), a top-ranked global early stage Venture Capital company led the round and Dr. Finian Tan, Chairman of Vickers Venture Partners, will join the Emergex Board as a non-executive director.

Founded in 2016, Emergex focuses on developing vaccines that prevent virulent diseases such as Zika, Dengue Fever, Ebola and even pandemic Flu. The Company’s set-point vaccines deliver experimentally-derived pathogen peptide data via quantum-sized nanoclusters to prime the immune system to recognise subsequent infections, mimicking natural infection and preventing severe manifestation of the disease. Emergex’s T-cell vaccines elicit different responses than traditional antibody-producing vaccines, eliminating allergic, autoimmune or antibody-mediated side effects.

Emergex’s underlying platform technology enables rapid development of vaccines to entire families of pathogens, compared to traditional approaches that can take years to develop and scale vaccines for single pathogens. As purely synthetic vaccines with no biological components, Emergex’s vaccines are much safer as they carry no infection risk from live attenuated pathogens; are much cheaper to produce since they do not require culturing; and can be conveniently transported and administered even in remote parts of the world as they can be stored and handled at room temperature.

The financing supports the progress of Emergex’s development pipeline, including a first-in-man
Phase 1 clinical trial of its Flavivirus (Dengue) vaccine in Switzerland, as well as
Phase 1b clinical trials in the endemic regions of Singapore and Brazil. Proceeds will also support the Universal Influenza and Filovirus programmes through the preclinical stages and early clinical trials. In parallel, Emergex will continue to identify peptide libraries for a range of infectious disease indications to further expand and diversify the Company’s development pipeline.

 

Professor Thomas Rademacher, CEO and co-founder of Emergex, commented, “Attracting such high calibre investors is an endorsement of our development pipeline and validation of the potential our technologies hold in the field of infectious diseases. These new funds will support us to achieve some significant value-enhancing milestones as we progress our lead vaccine candidates into clinical development.”

 

In addition to leading this financing, Vickers Venture Partners will assist Emergex with growth at the strategic level, by leveraging its experienced team of technical experts who have a strong track record in helping life science companies raise capital and scale up, and connecting Emergex to its networks of investment and industry partners.

 

Dr Finian Tan, Chairman of Vickers Venture Partners and a new Emergex non-executive director, added, “With today’s rising global population, the risk posed by infectious diseases is greater than ever before. As such, it is vital that we value and pursue innovation to ensure we have effective healthcare options. We see great potential in Emergex’s technology as it allows vaccines to be produced quickly, administered easily and sold at a fraction of current prices. We believe that this would revolutionize the entire world of vaccines and increase access to a larger number of people around the world.”

 

Over the last year, Emergex achieved significant milestones, including demonstrating an excellent safety profile for the base particle that will be used for all its vaccines and an excellent safety profile for the final dengue vaccine construct. The Company also signed a collaboration agreement with A*STAR’s IMCB in Singapore to develop a vaccine for Hand, Foot & Mouth disease, and secured a state-of-the-art R&D facility at Milton Park near Oxford, bringing in-house its own up-stream capabilities to drive development of its vaccines.

– Ends –

Notes to Editors

About Emergex

Emergex, a UK-based biotechnology company headquartered in Abingdon, UK, is pioneering the development of set-point vaccines to address some of the world’s most immediate health threats such as Dengue Fever, Zika, Ebola, pandemic flu and serious intra-cellular bacterial infections.

These set-point vaccines are population based and modify the initial immune status of recipients in a way that ‘primes’ their immune systems to recognise subsequent infectious agents much like a natural infection would do, preventing an acute or severe manifestation of the disease.

Emergex combines validated technologies together with the very latest scientific insights to develop its vaccines, including using synthetic peptide codes determined on actual infected cells and using a proprietary gold nanoparticle carrier system for programming.

The Company has a growing pipeline of vaccine candidates. The most advanced development programme is a vaccine for Dengue Fever, which may also be disease modifying for other Flaviviruses such as the Zika and Yellow Fever viruses. Emergex also has programmes in development for a universal Influenza vaccine and a universal Filovirus vaccine (including viruses such as Ebola and Marburg) and discovery programmes for a Yellow Fever Booster vaccine and a Chikungunya vaccine.

Emergex has partnered with the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) of Singapore to develop a vaccine for the emerging threat of Hand, Foot and Mouth (HFM) disease and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Brazil-based Oswaldo Cruz Foundation ‘Fiocruz’ for the development of viral vaccines. This initially covers the development of a vaccine that universally targets diseases within the flavivirus family such as Dengue Fever, Zika and Yellow Fever but could be expanded to include the development of vaccines to target other viral families that are endemic to the region.

Find out more online at www.emergexvaccines.com and connect with us via Twitter @EmergexVaccines.

 

About Vickers Venture Partners

Vickers Venture Partners is a global venture capital firm focused on early-stage investments in the technological and geographical mega trends of the world.  The firm’s portfolio covers life sciences, technology, media, and telecommunications as well as consumer and financial services. The partners’ track records include hits such as Baidu.com, Inc, Focus Media Holding Ltd, Kongzhong Corp, Cambridge Real Estate Investment Trust, Sunfun Info Co., Asian Food Channel (trade sale), UUCUN (trade sale), TWG Tea (trade sale), RTG Asia (trade sale), JJE (trade sale), Hillstone (trade sale, IPO), M-Daq (trade sale), Tenfen (trade sale), Kuyun (trade sale) and Mainspring (trade sale). The total market value of the companies that the partners have helped grow exceeds US$90 billion today. Vickers Venture Partners announced that they are targeting to raise US$500 million for their latest fund VI and have started investing from it after their first close in Oct 2019.

 

Vickers Venture Partners was founded by Dr Finian Tan together with his co-founders Dr Khalil Binebine, Dr Jeffrey Chi, Dr Damian Tan, Linda Li and Raymond Kong in 2005. It is headquartered in Singapore with offices in Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York, San Diego, Silicon Valley and London.

Find out more online at www.vickersventure.com

 

Media Contacts:

Instinctif PartnersAshley Tapp / Genevieve Wilson

Phone: +44 (0)20 7457 2020

Email: Emergex@instinctif.com

 

Emergex Completes First Step in the Development of a Vaccine Candidate Against Intracellular Bacterium and Bioterrorist Agent Francisella Tularensis

  • MHC-1 CD8 ‘ligandome library’ of F. tularensis epitopes successfully generated
  • F. tularensis recognized as high priority pathogen by the US government
  • Proof of principle of Emergex’s technology beyond viral pathogens

Abingdon, UK, 12 December 2019 –Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (‘Emergex’), a biotechnology company developing set-point vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases, today announced it has successfully completed the first step in the development of a candidate vaccine for the Gram-negative intracellular coccobacillus, Francisella tularensis. Specifically, Emergex has successfully generated a 1st generation human specific MHC-Class I CD8 peptide ligandome library for F. tularensis for the most commonly occurring human alleles. The library contains encrypted peptide data to instruct the immune system to alter the initial set-point of response on first exposure and potentially reduce disease severity but still allow natural immunity to provide long term protection. Emergex vaccines, that are self-adjuvant, also potentially limit or eliminate allergic, autoimmune or antibody-mediated side effects of traditional vaccines.

This is the first time that Emergex’s technology has been successfully applied in the creation of a bacterial vaccine candidate, a significant milestone, which will enable the growth of its pipeline and development of other intracellular bacterial vaccines in the future.

Emergex’s technology has already been successfully used in the development of the Company’s current vaccine candidates which includes viral vaccines for Dengue Fever and potentially other flaviviruses, pandemic and seasonal Influenza (flu) and filoviruses such as Ebola virus.

F. tularensis is a highly virulent bacterial pathogen and considered a potential bioterrorist agent and is categorized as a Tier 1 priority by the US government alongside Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax)1. Due to its low infectious dose and ease of spread, the bacterium is particularly well-suited to aerosol biowarfare attacks. Infection with F. tularensis is the cause of tularemia, which can be lethal without immediate treatment. As such, the impact of an outbreak could be devastating. Three cases have been reported in the United Kingdom in the last decade2.

No approved vaccine for F. tularensis currently exists, though an experimental live attenuated vaccine is currently employed for emergency prophylactic use only, e.g. for managing potential exposures to personnel working in high-risk laboratories using the bacterium.

Professor Thomas Rademacher, CEO and co-founder of Emergex, commented, “This is the first proof of principle that our technology can be applied to intra-cellular bacteria, expanding our capabilities beyond our current pipeline of viral pathogens. The potential this holds for our development portfolio is significant and now provides us the option to explore other high priority bacteria pathogens – such as antibiotic-resistant ‘super’ gonorrhea which is an intracellular bacterial pathogen of rising concern.”

References:

  1. US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/tularemia/
  2. Public Health England Infectious Diseases Strategy 11 September 2019 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-health-england-launches-new-infectious-disease-strategy

– Ends –

Notes To Editors

About Emergex Vaccines Holdings Limited

Emergex Vaccines Holdings Limited, a UK-based biotechnology company headquartered in Abingdon, UK, is pioneering the development of set-point vaccines to address some of the world’s most immediate health threats such as Dengue Fever, Zika, Ebola, pandemic flu and serious intra-cellular bacterial infections.

These set-point vaccines are population based and modify the initial immune status of recipients in a way that ‘primes’ their immune systems to recognise subsequent infectious agents much like a natural infection would do, preventing an acute or severe manifestation of the disease.

Emergex combines validated technologies together with the very latest scientific insights to develop its vaccines, including using synthetic peptide codes determined on actual infected cells and using a proprietary gold nanoparticle carrier system for programming.

The Company has a growing pipeline of vaccine candidates. The most advanced development programme is a vaccine for Dengue Fever, which may also be disease modifying for other Flaviviruses such as the Zika and Yellow Fever viruses. Emergex also has programmes in development for a universal Influenza vaccine and a universal Filovirus vaccine (including viruses such as Ebola and Marburg) and discovery programmes for a Yellow Fever Booster vaccine and a Chikungunya vaccine.

Find out more online at www.emergexvaccines.com and connect with us via Twitter @EmergexVaccines.

Media Contacts:

Instinctif Partners

Ashley Tapp / Genevieve Wilson

Phone: +44 (0)20 7457 2020

Email: Emergex@instinctif.com

 

Emergex Successfully Completes Preclinical Testing of its Lead Set-Point Vaccine Candidate for Dengue Fever and Other Flaviviruses

Abingdon, UK, 10 December 2019 – Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (‘Emergex’), a biotechnology company developing population-based synthetic disease prophylaxis set-point vaccines in the field of infectious diseases, today announced the successful completion of preclinical testing of its lead vaccine candidate for Dengue Fever.

The vaccine construct, which comprises nature’s gene-chip peptides bound to a quantum cluster gold nanoparticle delivery system, was shown to have an excellent safety profile in a repeat dose GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) grade toxicology study using a standard industry model1. No adverse reactions were seen at any dose level. This completes Emergex’s preclinical data package, allowing movement into the clinical phases of development.

This work builds upon previous preclinical work including GLP toxicology testing of the gold nanoparticle, which will form the base for all of Emergex’s vaccines and efficacy studies of the vaccine candidate. In addition to providing disease prophylaxis to Dengue Fever, this vaccine candidate may also provide immunity to other flaviviruses including Zika and Yellow Fever, as the peptides chosen in the vaccine construct are highly conserved amongst flaviviruses.

Laurens Rademacher, Emergex’s Chief Technology Officer, commented: “This data highlights the progress we are making in developing our lead vaccine candidate. Now that we have completed preclinical testing, we have the necessary data to allow the initiation of our First in Man Phase I clinical trial. Our vision is to offer affordable, practical, safe and effective vaccine solutions. The success we are reporting today takes us closer to achieving this.”

Emergex is developing vaccines that reduce morbidity against existing and newly emerging infectious outbreaks for use by governments (National Health Services) and non-governmental organisations. It is also forming partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to generate both milestone and future royalty revenue streams on sales of vaccines.

Dengue Fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection prevalent in tropical and semi tropical parts of the world. In recent decades it has spread and today approximately half the world’s population is at risk of contracting it. Patients usually present with flu like symptoms, such as a headache and fever.  However, Severe Dengue (Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever), can occur in up to 5% of cases and is a leading cause of hospitalisation and death among children in Dengue-affected regions2.

References

  1. Producing Nature’s Gene-Chips: The Generation of Peptides for Display by MHC Class I Molecules. Annu. Rev Immunol 2002.20:463-93.
  2. Health Organisation Facts about Dengue Fever – April 2019

– Ends –

Notes To Editors

About Emergex Vaccines Holdings Limited

Emergex Vaccines Holdings Limited, a UK-based biotechnology company headquartered in Abingdon, UK, is pioneering the development of ‘set-point’ vaccines to address some of the world’s most immediate health threats such as Dengue Fever, Zika, Ebola, pandemic flu and serious intra-cellular bacterial infections.

These set-point vaccines modify the initial immune status of recipients in a way that ‘primes’ their immune systems to recognise subsequent infectious agents much like a natural infection would do, preventing an acute or severe manifestation of the disease.

Emergex combines validated technologies together with the very latest scientific insights to develop its vaccines, including using synthetic peptide codes determined on actual infected cells and using a proprietary gold nanoparticle carrier system for programming.

The Company has a growing pipeline of vaccine candidates. The most advanced development programme is a vaccine for Dengue Fever, which may also be disease modifying for other Flaviviruses such as the Zika and Yellow Fever viruses. Emergex also has programmes in development for a universal Influenza vaccine and a universal Filovirus vaccine (including viruses such as Ebola and Marburg) and discovery programmes for a Yellow Fever Booster vaccine and a Chikungunya vaccine.

Find out more online at www.emergexvaccines.com and connect with us via Twitter @EmergexVaccines.

Media Contacts:

Instinctif Partners

Ashley Tapp / Genevieve Wilson

Phone: +44 (0)20 7457 2020

Email: Emergex@instinctif.com

 

Emergex Signs an R&D Agreement with IMCB to Develop a Vaccine for the Emerging Threat of Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease

  • Agreement targets the development of a cross-reactive vaccine to protect against the most virulent enteroviruses, including enterovirus 71 (EV71)
  • EV71 was responsible for recent outbreaks in Asia, resulting in a large number of infant deaths

Oxford, UK – 27 June 2019 – Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (‘Emergex’), a biotechnology company pioneering a new approach to synthetic vaccine development in the field of infectious diseases, today announced that it has signed an R&D agreement with the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) in Singapore to develop a fully synthetic vaccine against human viruses that cause Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD). Emergex and IMCB will collaborate closely to develop the new vaccine, combining their personnel, specialist knowledge and expertise.

IMCB is a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore’s lead government agency spearheading mission-oriented research to advance scientific discovery and develop innovative technology. A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry and, through collaboration, brings science and technology to benefit the economy and society.

Storme Moore-Thornicroft, Co-Founder and COO of Emergex, commented: “We are looking forward to collaborating with IMCB on this important indication. Our novel approach to vaccine development provides a practical and efficient solution to prevent disease. Compared to traditional methods, our technology enables development in a shorter time and at a fraction of the cost. Our vaccines also benefit from microneedle skin patch technology, improving vaccine administration and uptake. Our vaccines are 100% synthetic so do not require refrigeration, enabling easier transportation – especially important in infrastructurally-challenged parts of the world.”

The research collaboration is led by Associate Professor Justin Chu, Joint Principal Investigator at IMCB, whose research interests are in positive-strand RNA viruses and vaccine development.

Prof Hong Wanjin, Executive Director of IMCB, commented: “Over recent years, the virulence of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease has increased substantially and resulted in a number of infant deaths. An urgent need therefore exists to develop an effective vaccine that can provide a practical solution and protect those most at risk.”

As part of the agreement, Emergex will use its technological expertise to help develop a cross reactive vaccine against the most common enteroviruses known to cause HFMD, including coxsackieviruses and enterovirus 71 (EV71) which will be tested in murine models at IMCB.

HFMD is most common in children under the age of 5. It starts with a fever, sore throat and reduced appetite and leads to painful sores on the hands, feet, and in the mouth. While it usually resolves spontaneously, infection with some enteroviruses such as EV71 can induce diverse neurological complications including brainstem encephalitis. This can cause neurogenic pulmonary hemorrhage/edema and lead to death.

Several large outbreaks of HFMD caused by EV71 have occurred in the Asia-Pacific region since 1997. In 1998, a major epidemic of EV71 in Taiwan caused 1.5 million infections, 405 with severe neurological complications, and 78 child deaths. More than 7 million HFMD cases and 2,457 deaths were reported in China during EV71 epidemics between 2008 and 2012. Recently, EV71 epidemics have been reported in the USA and Europe including the Netherlands, France, Norway, the UK, Hungary, and Greece.

– Ends –

Notes To Editors

About Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited

Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (“Emergex”), a UK-based biotechnology company headquartered in Oxford, is pioneering a new approach to vaccine development in order to address some of the world’s most immediate health threats including Flaviviruses, such as Dengue Fever and Zika, as well as Filoviruses, such as Ebola and Marburg viruses, and seasonal and pandemic influenza.

The Company has developed a novel and ground-breaking approach to vaccine manufacturing. It utilises 100% synthetic components that have been validated in previous research, to activate T-cells of the immune system to destroy infected human cells. It uses unique technologies, together with scientific insights to develop and manufacture vaccines at a fraction of the time and cost of conventional vaccines. These are administered using a skin patch technology which is practical to administer and suited for regions that are infrastructurally-challenged as well as for more advanced regions of the world.

Emergex is initially focussed on creating an internationally accessible, clinical grade vaccine repository for use by governments, non-governmental organisations and charities, to act as a first line of defence against existing and newly emerging infectious outbreaks.

Emergex is committed to making a positive impact in the communities that are most affected by these infectious outbreaks, where a lack of affordable and effective treatments adversely impacts health and prosperity. Emergex is a member of the Social Stock Exchange in London, the world’s first regulated exchange dedicated to businesses and investors seeking to achieve a positive social and environmental impact through their activities.

Find out more online at www.emergexvaccines.com and connect with us via Twitter @EmergexVaccines.

Media Contacts:

Instinctif Partners

Sue Charles / Ashley Tapp / Genevieve Wilson

Phone: +44 (0)20 7457 2020

Email: Emergex@instinctif.com

 

Dr. Athanasios Papadopoulos Joins Emergex as Chief Medical Officer

Oxford, UK – 27 February 2019 – Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (‘Emergex’), a biotechnology company pioneering a new approach to synthetic vaccine development in the field of infectious diseases, today announces the appointment of Athanasios Papadopoulos, MD, as Chief Medical Officer (CMO), effective 1st March 2019. Dr. Papadopoulos will report directly to Emergex’s CEO Professor Thomas Rademacher.

In his new role Dr. Papadopoulos will use his extensive medical, regulatory and clinical development expertise to provide leadership and direction on the development of Emergex’s growing pipeline of vaccines.

Dr. Papadopoulos joins Emergex from Sanofi, the global pharmaceutical company, where he was most recently Associate Vice President, Senior Director and Clinical Franchise Leader of Global Clinical Sciences since 2015. During his time at Sanofi Dr. Papadopoulos played a critical role in the development of Dengvaxia®, the first vaccine approved for Dengue fever.

Prior to joining Sanofi, Dr. Papadopoulos worked at Novartis as Medical Affairs Director and Senior Global Clinical Research Physician as well as Lead Head of CLS and Senior Director of Clinical Development. During his time at Novartis, he contributed to the successful development and approval of the breakthrough Bexsero® Meningitis B vaccine.

Dr. Papadopoulos originally trained as a general practitioner in Greece and specialized as a clinical bio-pathology consultant. He has a wealth of clinical knowledge, strengthened by his more than 20 years of experience working in industry – 10 of which he has spent holding senior life sciences leadership roles.

Dr. Papadopoulos speaks English, French, Italian, Greek and Bulgarian and in his spare time enjoys judo and painting.

Storme Moore-Thornicroft co-founder and COO at Emergex commented, “It is a testament to the quality of our science that someone with Athanasios’ experience has chosen to join our executive management team. His knowledge and experience working in senior positions and the successful development and approval of a number of vaccines makes him the perfect candidate to be our new CMO. We look forward to working with him as our programmes progress into and through clinical development.”

On his appointment as the new CMO, Dr Athanasios Papadopoulos commented, “Coming from a larger, multinational corporation I am eager to explore the opportunities that come with working in a competitive, entrepreneurial, high-growth Company. Emergex’s novel technology and pipeline hold the potential to revolutionise infectious disease prevention and treatment and I am keen to be a part of the team as they strive to realise that vision.”

– Ends –

Notes To Editors

About Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited

Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (“Emergex”), a UK-based biotechnology company headquartered in Oxford, is pioneering a new approach to vaccine development in order to address some of the world’s most immediate health threats including Flaviviruses, such as Dengue Fever and Zika as well as Filoviruses, such as Ebola and Marburg viruses, and seasonal and pandemic influenza.

The Company has developed a novel and ground-breaking approach to vaccine manufacturing. It utilises 100% synthetic components that have been validated in previous research, to activate T-cells of the immune system to destroy infected human cells. It uses unique technologies together with scientific insights to develop and manufacture vaccines at a fraction of the time and cost of conventional vaccines. These are administered using a skin patch technology which is practical to administer and suited to regions that are infrastructurally-challenged as well as for more advanced regions of the world.

Emergex is initially focussed on creating an internationally accessible, clinical-grade vaccine repository for use by governments, non-governmental organisations and charities, to act as a first line of defence against existing and newly emerging infectious outbreaks.

Emergex is committed to making a positive impact in the communities that are most affected by these infectious outbreaks, where a lack of affordable and effective treatments adversely impacts health and prosperity. Emergex is a member of the Social Stock Exchange in London, the world’s first regulated exchange dedicated to businesses and investors seeking to achieve a positive social and environmental impact through their activities.
Find out more online at www.emergexvaccines.com and connect with us via Twitter @EmergexVaccines.

Media Contacts:

Instinctif Partners

Sue Charles / Ashley Tapp / Genevieve Wilson

Phone: +44 (0)20 7457 2020

Email: Emergex@instinctif.com