May, 2020

Maria Giorgalli

Project Research Specialist

baseimmune receives funding from InnovateUK for the manufacture and assessment of a vaccine against the African Swine Fever Virus

baseimmune has received an InnovateUK grant for an 18-month project to manufacture and test a vaccine candidate against the African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV). Innovate UK, a branch of the UK Research and Innovation agency, is a public body that enables productivity and economic growth by supporting business innovation and competitive product development.

The key innovation of baseimmune’s vaccine design approach is the utilisation of a novel antigen design platform that combines the power of big data from numerous public sources with the bespoke algorithms to accurately follow pathogen dynamics and identify conserved and functionally critical genomic regions to target within multiple pathogens of the same family. In ASFV, these regions are responsible for the virus’ ability to spontaneously cause outbreaks and evolve into new strains, making existing subunit vaccine approaches inadequate to address the changing nature of the virulent antigen profile. Consequently, this project aims to develop a novel multi-subunit vaccine candidate that confer protection against three currently circulating strains. 

ASFV is an agricultural disease of pigs caused by a complex DNA virus, with nearly 100% mortality and over 77% of pigs worldwide at risk. Currently, no licensed vaccine can give immunity against even the majority of the circulating ASFV strains and thus, management is largely through culling. In the most recent outbreak, China alone slaughtered over 4 million pigs. The complex nature of ASFV makes it an ideal candidate to demonstrate the efficiency of our platform and address a significant unmet need.

baseimmune will use the funding to expand its business, develop its lab structure and to push the development of new effective vaccines that would improve wellbeing, safeguard agricultural productivity and reduce the public health and economic burden of emerging diseases. Many of our vaccine candidates aim to also address serious infectious diseases in less developed parts of the world, and making a positive social impact in these countries is an important part of our mission.

We believe that the complex analysis of big omics data to rationally design safe and effective vaccines will be baseimmune’s biggest contribution to society and we hope to be a resource in the event of potential public health crises.

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