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January 14, 2008

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 innovative medicines.”

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 cells.

• 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:

Onyvax
Dr Anthony Walker / Robert Johnson
+44 (0)208 682 9494

Financial Dynamics
Julia Philips
+44 (0)20 7831 3113

 

Notes to editors

About Onyvax:

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, UCL:

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 specific, therapies.

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).


About LGC:

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 problems.
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 billion.

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