Who are we?
Baseimmune is a discovery stage biotech company focused on antigen discovery and vaccine development. The technology is based on a computational platform deciphering pathogen evolution to design cross-protective vaccines.
What problem is Baseimmune solving?
Infectious diseases currently account for 3 out of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and are ranked as the leading threat with global impact by the World Economic Forum, ahead of climate change. Vaccines are the most effective public health intervention in history - in some cases leading to near or total eradication of diseases like smallpox and polio - yet around 1.5 million people still die every year around the world due to a lack of effective vaccines against preventable diseases.
Vaccines work by training the immune system to recognise and respond to infection such as a virus, parasite or bacteria before they can cause disease. At the heart of every vaccine is the antigen – a protein representing the pathogen functioning like a fingerprint to teach the immune system what to look for to identify and combat a pathogen.
Pathogens are constantly evolving to adapt and evade our immune defences, leading to changes in the immune fingerprint and emergence of resistant variants. For example, new flu vaccines must be developed each year due to extensive mutation and recombination of the virus in the wild, but current tools for vaccine development are limited keeping up with the emergence of variable pathogens and the effectiveness of those vaccines vary.
While mRNA technology and viral vectors revolutionised the development of vaccines by making subunit vaccines safe, scalable, and immunogenic, vaccines still lack efficacy against highly variable pathogens and protection quickly fades due to mutations. Baseimmune is solving this major technological roadblock by improving and accelerating the design of mutation-proof antigens that can be combined with any delivery system such as mRNA, DNA or viral vectors to create highly efficacious and cross-protective vaccines.
How does Baseimmune’s antigen prediction software work?
Most vaccine antigens are based on a single pathogen component, such as the spike protein of the COVID SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which limits their effectiveness and ability to cope with new variants.
Baseimmune’s deep learning algorithm integrates genomic, epidemiological, immunological, clinical and evolutionary data together to create artificial antigens drawn from the entire pathogen’s genome, rather than a single protein. The antigen design can then be formulated into any vaccine technology platform, including mRNA, DNA, VLPs, and viral vectors accelerating the vaccine design process.
Who is behind Baseimmune?
Founded in 2019 by 3 technical founders, the company is a result of years of academic research and technology development prior to the formation of the company. Here’s their profiles.
Dr Joshua Blight
Josh has a PhD in Vaccinology and Infectious Diseases from the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford where he pioneered complex bioinformatic approaches to design vaccines against various infectious diseases. He has a strong scientific background and extensive experience in a broad spectrum of diseases from dengue and chikungunya to human papilloma virus (HPV) and malaria. Two of his vaccine candidates are currently in human clinical trials, he holds patents for several others and has overseen the preclinical development of 7 more vaccines. Previous positions include vaccine design as a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College, scientific consultancy for pharma companies. As the CEO of Baseimmune, Josh is responsible for company strategy technology development and.
Ariane is a biologist specialised in immunology and vaccine development and holds a PhD in Clinical Medicine from the University of Oxford. Her expertise spans development, characterisation and testing of novel vaccine platforms and adjuvants for effective vaccine development, with 6 vaccines developed through pre-clinical at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute. Prior to Baseimmune, Ariane was a postdoctoral researcher at the University College London working on stablishing protective antigens in a vaccine against Cytomegaloviruses. As the CSO of Baseimmune, Ariane is responsible for scientific strategy, company strategy, and operations.
Dr Ariane Gomes
Phillip is a self-taught computer software engineer who previously worked with the team at the Jenner Institute to develop the computer algorithms used to develop a number of the vaccines at the Institute, including the HPV and Chikungunya vaccines. As the CTO of Baseimmune, Phil is responsible for platform and database development that underpins Baseimmune’s core technology.
Josh and Phil are secondary school friends that bonded over building electronic kits and small robots covered with LEDs and flashing lights in the shed after school. Josh and Ari met during their PhD’s and bonded over miserable long nights and weekend shifts in the lab. They reportedly spent most of their time between incubations and experiments dancing to questionable 60’s and 70’s songs.
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