The Vaccine Group (TVG) has raised £680,000 through its first equity funding round.
The proceeds will be used to accelerate development and expand the range of its novel animal vaccine technology.
Targeted diseases currently fall into two broad areas: zoonotic diseases, such as Ebola, bird flus and SARs, that jump from animals to animals, including humans; and diseases, such as African swine fever and bovine tuberculosis, which impact economically important livestock. The division between the two varies around the world: bovine tuberculosis is a direct human health threat in many lower and middle countries (“LMICs”).
The fundraising values the University of Plymouth spin out at £9.5 million, with Frontier IP’s 17 per cent equity stake valued at £1.6 million. This value was reflected in Frontier IP’s results at 30 June 2019, announced on 6 November 2019.
TVG’s vaccines are based on benign forms of herpesviruses, a group of viruses that are found in all animals, including humans. They are created by inserting a non-infectious region of DNA from the pathogen being targeted into the herpesvirus. This vaccine then stimulates an immune response against the disease when delivered into the animal.
The UK, US and Chinese governments have provided grant funding of more than £9 million to programmes involving TVG. They include projects to tackle:
· Ebola and Lassa fever, funded by the US Department of Defense
· Streptococcus suis, an emerging zoonotic disease in pigs that can be fatal to humans, funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care and the Chinese government; and
· Bovine mastitis, funded by the global bacterial vaccine network Bactivac.
The Company is also developing vaccines to combat:
· African Swine Fever Virus, a disease currently having a devastating impact on the swine herd in many parts of the world, particularly China; and
· Bovine tuberculosis, seen as a major animal health threat in the UK and to human health in LMICs.
This initial round of equity funding provides an exciting opportunity to apply this novel vaccine platform towards additional livestock pathogens and deadly zoonotic diseases in humans. Given the much shorter time to market, vaccines designed to interrupt emergence of zoonotic diseases in animals before they spread to humans is becoming regarded as a quicker and more cost-effective way to protect human health.TVG Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Associate Professor Dr Michael Jarvis
TVG’s novel technology has huge potential to address some of the most pressing global health challenges we are facing today. The World Health Organisation has repeatedly warned about the pandemic threat from zoonotic diseases. Vaccines also have a critical role to play in protecting people from antibiotic resistant bacteria. We’re delighted the Company has successfully completed its first funding round and would like to thank investors for their support.Frontier IP Chief Executive Officer, Neil Crabb