Onyvax, UCL and LGC Awarded Grant
For a £1.8m Project to Develop Predictive Manufacturing
Tools for Cell Based Cancer Vaccines
London, UK, 14 January 2008: Onyvax Ltd, the biotechnology company
developing novel cancer therapies, announced today that a UK consortium,
led by Onyvax, has been awarded a grant by the UK Technology Strategy
Board for a £1.8 million project that will help develop
new generations of cell-based vaccines for cancer.
The project will combine micro-scale process engineering technology
with both advanced analytical and informatic methods to predict
and optimize cell line performance in large scale manufacturing
processes. If successful, the technology will reduce the cost
and time involved in selecting and producing new cell lines to
form the basis of future cancer vaccines. In addition, the technology
could be applied to other areas of cell therapy, including regenerative
medicine and stem cell therapy.
Dr Stephen Ward, Director of Development at Onyvax, said: “Following
successful results in prostate cancer, Onyvax is applying the
cell-based cancer vaccine approach to other cancer types. The
micro-scale technology will allow us to predict how a cell line
will perform in an intensive manufacturing process. With these
new tools, we hope to determine the robustness of a cell line
earlier in the development lifecycle and to reject those that
are not suitable, thereby reducing the time to market for these
The award comprises £1.1m from the Technology Strategy
Board, supported with additional funding from consortia members.
In addition to Onyvax, the consortium includes:
• The Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, UCL,
who will use their ultra scale-down and whole bioprocessing technology
to assess the impact of the bioprocessing environment on vaccine
• LGC, a science-based service company and designated
National Measurement Institute for chemical and bioanalysis, who
will apply know-how and capability based on advanced mass spectrometry
and array-based platforms for characterisation of both intracellular
and extracellular protein markers.
• Nottingham Trent University, a leader in bioinformatics,
who will provide proprietary Artificial Neural Network (ANN) algorithms
to mine the complex multivariate analytical datasets and identify
biomarkers indiciative of cell robustness.
The project will run from January 2008 to March 2011.
For further information:
Dr Anthony Walker / Robert Johnson
+44 (0)208 682 9494
+44 (0)20 7831 3113
Notes to editors
Onyvax Ltd is a biotechnology company developing novel cancer
therapies that harness the selective power of the immune system
to seek and destroy tumour cells.
Founded in 1998, Onyvax is developing products that use the power
of the immune system to treat prostate and other cancers. Onyvax’s
lead products are based on combinations of inactivated cell lines
that induce immune responses to a broad spectrum of tumour targets.
Onyvax-P, a Cell Vaccine for prostate cancer, is the subject of
two randomized, double blind, placebo controlled Phase IIb clinical
trials, one in Europe, the other in US. For each cancer type,
Onyvax generates banks of proprietary cell lines representative
of different stages of the disease. The vaccines are manufactured
in bulk under standardized conditions.
Onyvax is committed to the commercialization of new therapies
that significantly prolong survival while maintaining a high quality
of life for cancer patients. The Company is based in London and
has collaborations with leading institutions in Europe and the
US. Further information on Onyvax can be found at www.onyvax.com
About The Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering,
Research at the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering at
University College London is focused on the creation of next generation
methods to help speed process development for new bio pharmaceuticals
and new human cell therapies. This research seeks to generate
novel ultra scale-down methods and whole bioprocess models to
allow the use of very small quantities of precious material to
study the potential of full-scale bioprocessing. In particular,
the research is designed to introduce whole bioprocess design
at a low cost compatible with the early discovery stages where
large numbers of potential therapeutic candidates have to be addressed.
By this means candidates successful in clinical trials can be
brought to market more quickly with robust bioprocesses. For example,
this will allow greater opportunity to recover the high development
costs and hence enable the availability of more complex, and hence
UCL biochemical engineering teaching and knowledge transfer activities
covers all levels from school students, undergraduate, postgraduate
and post experience delegates from the bioprocessing industries.
Over 300 scientists/engineers benefit from such training each
year through a wide range of activities built on the research
outputs described above. In this way, strong knowledge transfer
occurs to the future experts in the bioprocessing sector. This
is especially via the EPSRC Engineering Doctorate Bioprocess leadership
scheme and the MBI Bioprocess Modules. The collaboration between
the Advanced Centre and over 60 external industrial and university
experts is central to meeting this crucial need of scientists/engineering
skilled in the translation of new biomedical science discoveries
into real outcomes (www.ucl.ac.uk/biochemeng).
LGC is an international science-based company and market leader
in analytical, forensic and diagnostic services and reference
standards. A progressive and innovative enterprise, LGC operates
in socially responsible fields underpinning the safety, health
and security of the public and the regulation of industry, for
UK government departments and blue chip clients.
LGC operates internationally through five divisions - LGC Forensics,
Life and Food Sciences, Pharmaceutical and Chemical Services,
LGC Standards and Research & Technology, which houses specialist
laboratories for the delivery of contracts under the Department
for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and to serve its
designated role as the UK's National Measurement Institute for
chemical and bioanalysis.
Our methodology is extensively accredited to the international
standard ISO 17025. Headquartered in Teddington, Middlesex, the
LGC Group employs over 1100 staff in 21 laboratories and centres
across Europe and in India. Privatised in 1996 and now majority-owned
by funds managed by LGV Capital, LGC was founded over 150 years
ago as the Laboratory of the Government Chemist – a statutory
function maintained by LGC today.
About Nottingham Trent University:
Nottingham Trent University is a post-92 university and a market
leader in the UK for employability. 97.5% of students graduating
from NTU in 2006 were in employment, further study, or pursuing
another ambition within six months of graduation. NTU has strong
partnerships with employers and industry and see this as the key
to their success.
The School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University
has a vibrant and robust research culture with around 100 research
students and 50 postdoctoral research fellows supported by external
funding from a diverse range of sources.
The School of Science and Technology is also home to a unique
bioinformatics and computational biology service where the focus
is on bioinformatics solutions using specialised neural network
algorithms for the comprehensive analysis and modelling of biomedical
All research within the School is supported by recent investment
of over £10M in specialist accommodation: Interdisciplinary
Biomedical Research Centre (Biological/Biomedical Sciences), Natural
Sciences Research Centre (Chemistry, Physics, Sport Science),
Computing and Informatics Building and an industrial grade Clean
Room Facility (Imaging and Displays).
About the Technology Strategy Board:
The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental
public body, established by the government. Its mission is to
promote and support research into, and development and exploitation
of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business,
in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of
life. It is sponsored by the Department of Innovation, Universities
and Skills (DIUS).
The Technology Strategy Board's Collaborative Research and Development
Programme is investing directly in new and emerging technologies
and has been designed to help businesses work with each other
or with academic partners to develop technologies that will underpin
products and services of the future. Since 2004, the programme
has supported about 700 projects across 40 technology areas with
a combined business and government investment worth over £1