ExpreS2ion receives 1.6 MSEK order in development program for next-generation malaria vaccine

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ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies ApS (“ExpreS2ion”), a fully owned subsidiary of ExpreS2ion Biotech Holding AB, announces that it has received a 1.6 MSEK order to perform development work as part of a Wellcome Trust funded malaria vaccine project. The project is led by Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, and the goal is to create a next-generation blood-stage combination vaccine.

The role of ExpreS2ion in the Wellcome Trust funded project is to contribute to the establishment of a cGMP manufacturing process of an optimised malaria antigen, RH5.2, using the ExpreS2 platform. The project is merely one of several malaria vaccine programs led by Jenner Institute. For example, ExpreS2ion is also collaborating with the institute on the OptiMalVax H2020 grant program.

In this current next-generation RH5.2 virus-like particle project, ExpreS2ion will establish monoclonal S2 cell banks using the ExpreS2 platform. This is required for the manufacturing of the material to be used in clinical trials. RH5.2 will be the third malaria vaccine candidate using the ExpreS2 platform to produce the material needed to enter clinical development.

A next-generation combination blood-stage malaria vaccine

This multiple life-stage vaccine candidate for the P. falciparum malaria parasite is funded by a Wellcome Translational award received by Jenner Institute. Vaccine candidates from different life stages will be tested alone and in combination, initially in the UK and then in malaria-endemic regions in Africa. 

Professor Simon Draper’s group at Jenner Institute has identified PfRH5 as the most promising vaccine candidate for blood-stage malaria. PfRH5 is highly conserved across all P. falciparum strains identified to date, and a soluble version of the protein, RH5.1, demonstrated ability to reduce parasite growth rates in vaccinated volunteers challenged with blood-stage parasites. With the aim to further improve efficacy, the Wellcome award will fund GMP manufacturing of a second-generation RH5 vaccine, RH5.2, in S2 insect cells. RH5.2 has been engineered to retain regions important for red blood cell recognition, which are targeted by neutralising antibodies. Additionally, the RH5.2 protein will be displayed on the surface of a hepatitis B derived virus-like particle (VLP) in order to maximise the induction of high titre antibodies.

1 See Press release from ExpreS2ion October 31, 2018.

“We are proud to be able to contribute to the development of an efficient blood-stage malaria vaccine through the use of our unique ExpreS2 protein production platform. Malaria continues to constitute a major global health burden. Through the combined efforts of strong research groups and funding from sources like the Wellcome Trust, this can hopefully be changed in the future”, says ExpreS2ion’s CEO Dr. Steen Klysner.   

Malaria facts (WHO)

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites transmitted into the human body via infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Even though the disease is preventable and curable, it is estimated that 219 million people in 87 countries were infected with malaria in 2017. The same year, the number of deaths were estimated to 435,000.

In a market assessment study conducted by Boston Consulting Group sponsored by Malaria Vaccine Initiative, the global market value for malaria vaccines was estimated to up to 400 million USD per year based on the estimated malaria vaccine demand.

About the Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a research charity based in London, United Kingdom. It was established in 1936 based on the legacy of the pharmaceutical magnate Sir Henry Wellcome to fund research to improve human and animal health. The aim of the Trust is to "achieve extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds". In addition to funding biomedical research, it supports the public understanding of science. The Wellcome Trust had an endowment of £25.9 billion in 2018, making it the fourth wealthiest charitable foundation in the world.

Certified Adviser

Svensk Kapitalmarknadsgranskning AB

Telephone: +46 70 755 95 51

E-mail: ca@skmg.se

For further information about ExpreS2ion Biotech Holding AB, please contact:

Dr. Steen Klysner, CEO
Telephone: +45 2062 9908

This press release contains information that ExpreS2ion is obligated to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication through the agency of the contact person set out above on September 23, 2019.

About ExpreS2ion

ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies ApS is a fully owned Danish subsidiary of ExpreS2ion Biotech Holding AB with company register number 559033-3729. The subsidiary has developed a unique proprietary platform technology, ExpreS2, that can be used for fast and efficient preclinical and clinical development as well as robust production of complex proteins for new vaccines and diagnostics. Since the Company was founded in 2010, it has produced more than 300 proteins and 40 virus-like particles (VLPs) in collaboration with leading research institutions and companies, demonstrating superior efficiency and success rates. In addition, ExpreS2ion develops novel VLP based vaccines through the joint venture AdaptVac ApS, which was founded in 2017. For additional information, please visit www.expres2ionbio.com and www.adaptvac.com.



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