Delivering the potential
of saRNA vaccines

VaxEquity (“VXT”) is a new biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing saRNA vaccines for serious and life-threatening diseases.

Utilising innovative self-amplifying ribonucleic acid (saRNA) vaccine technology developed by Prof Robin Shattock and colleagues from Imperial College, we are developing new products that can be rapidly produced and delivered at scale, for protection against both endemic and emerging pathogens.

We are supporting and working alongside the social enterprise VacEquity Global Health in its endeavours to deliver an effective vaccine candidate for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

saRNA + Speed + Equity = VaxEquity
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Vaccine development challenges

saRNA vaccines have the potential to overcome many of the limitations of traditional approaches. They can be rapidly designed and delivered at scale, and tailored to induce the immune response required.

Vaccinations have revolutionised global health and are key in providing protection to endemic diseases. However, sustained effective vaccines have yet to be developed for many global diseases, as well as new pathogens that emerge.

Non-viral RNA vaccines have the potential to overcome many of the limitations of existing approaches. They have also been proven to deliver strong immune responses in patients. However, issues around delivery and stability of the product have to date, limited their potential.

Our saRNA approach overcomes many of these issues. By being self-amplifying, once in the body, only a small amount of RNA is required to provide greatly enhanced protein expression compared with a mRNA vaccine. Elements can be included that tailor the immune response produced, for instance biasing towards a strong, antibody response whilst suppressing the innate immune response.

Crucially, saRNA vaccines can be designed and production rapidly scaled-up. Manufacture is completely synthetic leading to high-purity products at high concentration.

VXT’s innovative technology solution

VXT's products are nanoparticles containing RNA, which can self-amplify once delivered inside cells to deliver immune system stimulation and modulation.

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Our platform is based on self-amplifying RNA (saRNA).

In the replicon, the portion of the RNA encoding viral structural components, essential for making an infectious particle, is replaced with those encoding therapeutic payloads (immunogens, but also immunomodulators if required).

The replicon is delivered into cells in nanoparticles by intramuscular injection.

Once inside cells, the saRNA is translated into four proteins that make up the alpha-viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complex.

These amplify the RNA of the payload sequences, enhancing therapeutic protein expression. This is different from vaccines based on mRNA where the amount of payload protein expressed is directly proportionate to the level of protein expressed.

Applications

We will prioritise the use of our platform technology to deliver vaccines for infectious diseases where current vaccination options are inadequate. This includes both generally endemic pathogens, as well as those that are rapidly emerging.

Longer term, the platform has the potential to be used for applications beyond infectious disease vaccines, where expression of a specific protein in the body is expected to effect a prophylactic or therapeutic response

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Our team

Prof Robin Shattock - Founder

Prof Robin Shattock

Founder

Robin is Head of Immunology of Infection within the Department of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London. He leads the British initiative to develop a Covid-19 vaccine for the disease at Imperial. He is an international leader in the field of mucosal immunology and HIV prevention and is a pioneer in investigating the use of drugs and passive antibodies to prevent HIV transmission, first showing that they work in vitro and then translating to clinical trials. As well as being a Director of VCT, he is a Director of VacEquity-Global Health, the segregated not-for-profit vehicle established to develop and deliver a vaccine to SARS-CoV-2.

Dr Will West - Executive Chair

Dr Will West

Executive Chair

Will chairs several biotech companies on behalf of Morningside. He is also the CEO of CellCentric Ltd, a development stage cancer drug biotech company which he co-founded out of the University of Cambridge with Prof Azim Surani. He also co-founded CTS Inc, a Johns Hopkins’ spin-out focused on non-viral particles to deliver nucleic acid-based therapeutic products incorporating tissue specific promoters.

His scientific background is in virology and immunology, studying antibodies to RSV for his PhD, then as a post-doc at NIBSC, working on the MRC AIDS vaccine development programme. He is on the Board of the BioIndustry Association and also chairs the John Innes Centre, the world leading plant and microbial research institute. He holds a Masters in Clinical Research as well as an MBA from London Business School.

Dr Jason Dinges - Investor Director

Dr Jason Dinges

Investor Director

Jason is currently an investment advisor at Morningside Technology Advisory LLC, which he joined in 2011. He has extensive experience providing operational and management oversight to early-stage biotechnology companies. Dr. Dinges is also a director of several biopharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, across a broad spectrum of therapeutic areas including several clinical stage companies: Kezar Life Sciences (NASDAQ: KZR), Enyo Pharma, CellCentric, Inotrem SA, Bacainn Therapeutics, ApicBio, IM Therapeutics, Pinteon Therapeutics, and Allysta Pharmaceuticals. He has also facilitated multiple financings for private companies. From 2006 to 2011, Dr. Dinges was an associate attorney at Foley & Lardner LLP, practicing intellectual property law in the firm’s Chemical, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical practice group. Dr. Dinges received his Ph.D. in genetics from Iowa State University and a J.D., with highest distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law.

Dr Elaine Harper - Consultant, Technical Operations

Dr Elaine Harper

Consultant, Technical Operations

Elaine is Director of Product Development at Boyd Consultants where she provides product development advice to biopharmaceutical companies developing gene therapy, cell/ tissue engineered products, small molecule NCE and biologics including products delivered utilising nanoparticle technologies. Elaine received a degree in Biochemistry from Imperial College and an MPhil and PhD in pharmacology from Cambridge University and has over 25 years of research and development experience across a broad range of therapeutic areas including oncology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, inflammation and virology. Her experience includes; several years at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult as a Program Manager assisting cell and gene therapy developers translate research into commercially viable therapies and Head of Pharmacology and Cellular Systems at Syntaxin, a spin-out from the HPA developing recombinant retargeted botulinum toxins.

Dr Tim Sparey - Consultant, Business Operations

Dr Tim Sparey

Consultant, Business Operations

Tim is a successful, serial entrepreneur with extensive C-suite and board level experience in the pharmaceutical sector. As CEO and founder of Novintum, he is pioneering a new approach to cancer metabolism including a recently completed unique collaboration with the University of Oxford to conduct translational medicine studies in resistant tumours. In addition, he works as a consultant/advisor with US, EU and Asian clients. He also chairs early stage companies in the Deep Science Ventures portfolio including ConcR and advises 3D Consultants. His previous experiences include multiple therapeutic and technology areas including cancer, CNS, ophthalmology and drug delivery in public and private companies including Midatech, Q Chip, Proximagen and Merck & Co. He has over 40 patents and publications.

Thea Stanway - Finance

Thea Stanway

Finance

Thea is a UK maths graduate and chartered accountant having trained with Peat Marwick (London and Bristol) and Coopers and Lybrand (Cambridge). She has over 20 years’ post-qualification experience. She has wide-ranging experience particularly having worked with the needs of small growing high-tech businesses both in practice and outside. She has worked extensively within the life sciences business sector also gaining overseas experience working in Norway between 1995 and 1999, reporting under both US and UK GAAP. Thea is Finance Director for CellCentric Ltd. and oversees other Morningside investee companies.

Morningside Group

Morningside was founded in 1986 by the Chan family, to make private equity and venture capital investments in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

In the life sciences, Morningside specializes in early-stage (pre-clinical through human proof-of-concept) investments in biopharmaceutical products. They partner with academic founders and entrepreneurs to build world class companies that want to markedly improve the current state of medicine today and ultimately, the lives of patients.

Morningside’s focus is to invest in excellent biomedical research, where a significant body of knowledge has been gathered and there is a plausible path forward in clinical development. Their mission is to contribute to making meaningful, positive impact on prevention or treatment of human disease and believe that so long as this is achieved, commercial success will follow.

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