Vaccine developer receives synthetic biology grant

Vaccine developer Prokarium, Ltd., and the University of Birmingham Institute of Microbiology and Infection recently received a $595,000 grant to further their efforts in the field of synthetic biology.

The grant was awarded by the U.K. Technology Strategy Board and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Prokarium said the funding will be used to develop the company's Vaxonella oral vaccine delivery platform and two other vaccine candidates.

Prokarium, based in Keele, Staffordshire and London, develop genetic technologies that the company then uses to create cell-targeting bacteria that express vaccines after entering the body orally.

In addition to Vaxonella, the grant will be used to fund preclinical development of Prokarium's first pipeline product, Typhetec. Typhetec is a dual-vaccine that protects against typhoid and ETEC, which are two major causes of diarrhea. The funding will also enable further research and development on a novel vaccine against the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which is primarily known as a cause of colitis in elderly patients.

"We are very pleased that the TSB and BBSRC awarded our consortium this funding, which will not only bring us closer to creating the next generation of oral vaccines against two very important diseases, but also recognizes Prokarium as an innovative synthetic biology company," Prokarium CEO Carl-Johan Spak said.