Evotec Invests in Oxford University Spinout Cell Therapy Company OxVax

Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) revealed that it has invested in OxVax, a new immuno-oncology organization focused on Oxford University science that facilitates the advancement of the next generation of cancer vaccines with the ability to solve existing strategy limitations.

Novel cancer vaccine technology

OxVax is designing a novel cancer vaccine technology focused on a patented population of dendritic cells capable of eliciting a powerful anti-tumor immune response. The company’s novel platform enables the mass production of these cells from donor blood derived stem cells. By ex vivo loading of these cells with tumour antigens, OxVax will potentially be able to generate a vaccine that can train the immune system to target and eliminate tumours. This revolutionary platform is based on the scientific research conducted by Professor Paul J Fairchild and Tim Davies from the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University.

Marcelo Bravo, a successful entrepreneur who has taken two companies public, will join the founders as Chief Executive Officer. Evotec’s investment is co-led by the South Korean-based venture capital company Lead Compass Investment. Financial information was withheld.

Dr. Thomas Hanke, Head of Academic Partnerships at Evotec, said:

‘We are excited to work with the Oxford researchers and Lead Compass to support the development of next-generation dendritic cell therapies to treat tumours with a high unmet medical need in the future. This investment fits well with Evotec’s ambition to become a biotech powerhouse in off-the-shelf cell therapy offerings.’

Professor Paul J Fairchild, Associate Professor of the Immunobiology of Stem Cells at Oxford University, commented:

“Our research has shown how stem cells can be used to create potentially unlimited numbers of a rare cell type of the immune system responsible for orchestrating the immune response to solid tumours. We believe that access to these cells can open the field of cancer vaccination and transform the treatment of some of the most intractable cancers.”

Marcelo Bravo, Chief Executive Officer at OxVax, added:

“Our platform enables the manufacture at scale of an off-the-shelf highly potent vaccine which addresses the major limitations that have frustrated cancer vaccine development in the past. Our immediate focus will be the definition of the quality profile of the product and the industrialisation of the manufacturing protocol which will put us in a strong position to proceed towards the clinic.”

Tae-erk Kim, Chief Executive officer at Lead Compass Investment, added:

“We are excited to invest in OxVax’s technology since it addresses the low migration, cross-presentation, and T-cell activation problems of past dendritic cell cancer treatments. Promising results in an oncology setting would further pave the way for OxVax to expand its technology into other therapeutic areas and be the first company to have dendritic cells act as the true control tower of the immune system.”

For further information, please visit www.oxvax.uk.


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