UK-Mexico deal to manufacture gut bug vaccines
- In a deal that crosses continents, UK-based Prokarium has hooked up with Mexico City manufacturer Probiomed to manufacture thermostable oral vaccines for bacterial diarrhea.
- The program will combine Prokarium's oral preclinical diarrhea vaccine candidate and Probiomed's manufacturing capabilities, scaling up production to clinical volumes.
- The collaboration is supported by the UK government’s Newton Fund, administered by Innovate UK, and by the Mexican government’s innovation agency CONACYT.
Bacterial diarrhea is most commonly caused by Shigella, enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) and non-typhoidal salmonellosis, and these are behind around 1 billion cases worldwide every year. While for some people this may just be written off as a holiday tummy bug, for children in developing countries it can lead to dehydration and may even be fatal. There is no vaccine against this form of diarrhea on the market, either for locals or for tourists.
Thermostable oral vaccines have a number of advantages, particularly in rural areas, or where there is little healthcare infrastructure. Prokarium's vaccines can be transported and stored for up to 12 weeks at 40 degrees centigrade without a cold chain. The capsules of bacteria can be self-administered and produce vaccine in the gut, so do not need intervention from trained healthcare professionals. This could improve patient access to vaccines, particularly in remote areas. The oral approach also obviates the need for syringes, reducing the risks associated with needle use and reuse.
"Prokarium’s technology avoids the need for injections with a needle and more importantly means it can be delivered to people living in remote resource-poor areas, as the vaccine is stable at high temperatures and can be manufactured for approximately one third of the price of conventional injectable vaccines. Together with Probiomed we now aim to prove we can scale-up and make enough of these vaccines to really make a difference to people worldwide," said Prokarium’s CEO Ted Fjallman.
Prokarium has a pipeline of in-house oral vaccines, with a focus on preventing Clostridium difficile, and reducing exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), as well as developing an anti-bioterror vaccine against plague.
- Prokarium Statement
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