$2.17-million award will aid in the firm’s program related to bird flu and HIV/AIDS vaccines.

A consortium led by Cobra Biomanufacturing has been awarded a £1.1-million, or $2.17-million, grant from the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry to evaluate the application of its ORT-VAC vaccine technology. The group comprises researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Royal Holloway, University of London.

The ORT-VAC oral vaccine delivery system exploits the use of innocuous bacteria to deliver vaccines orally. “Live bacterial vaccines offer huge benefits both to patients and vaccine manufacturers,” because of ease of administration and production, points out Simon Cutting of the Royal Holloway and one of the research leaders. The ORT-VAC strains are uniquely able to stably maintain hundreds of copies of circular DNA molecules, which contain gene coding for the active principle of vaccines.

The funds awarded will be largely used to support preclinical experimentation in collaborator laboratories, according to Cobra. “The project targets the development of oral vaccines for bird influenza and HIV/AIDS,”states David Thatcher, CEO.

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