The University of Oxford, in collaboration with AstraZeneca plc, has announced interim trial data from its Phase III trials that shows its candidate vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019, is effective at preventing COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) and offers a high level of protection.
Congratulations to AstraZeneca, Oxford University and all the academics behind Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine team, led by Vaccitech founders Prof Sarah Gilbert and Prof Adrian Hill.
This safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 is based on decades of in-depth research and will be transformational in the next 6 months; easily distributed and administered, and available on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic it offers real global potential to save lives.
We are delighted by this news and immensely proud that our portfolio company, Vaccitech, was responsible for co-inventing the vaccine alongside Oxford University’s Jenner Institute – one of the most prestigious vaccine research centres in the world.
The positive data announced today, from this large high-quality Phase III study, provides strong scientific validation for Vaccitech’s ChAdOx technology platform, licensed from Oxford University, which underpins a broad pipeline of product candidates designed to treat and prevent infectious diseases and cancer.
At OSI we focus on ensuring world-leading Oxford science moves out of the laboratory and onto the global stage where it can solve the world’s toughest problems. As such, it is no accident that not one, but two, of the 50 vaccine candidates currently undertaking human trials originated from Oxford research and companies within our portfolio.
OSI has been investing in Vaccitech since 2016 to help fund the development of the ChAdOx technology platform and subsequent research into novel immunotherapies and vaccines against a number of infectious diseases and cancer, including: hepatitis B (HBV), human papillomavirus (HPV), prostate cancer and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), another coronavirus.
Oxford academics had already focussed on pandemic preparedness, using the ChAdOx technology, when COVID-19 emerged in early 2020. The technology and research were instrumental in enabling the Oxford team to move at pace to find an effective COVID-19 vaccine; the Oxford candidate utilises the same vaccine platform and antigen selection strategy as the ChAdOx1-MERS vaccine, based on preclinical and clinical findings which are now published.
Alexis Dormandy, Chief Executive Officer, OSI, said: “Positive phase III data is a significant accomplishment that will bring us one step closer to ending the worst pandemic in a century, pausing the world’s economy and infecting over 50 million people globally. Congratulations to AstraZeneca, Oxford University, Vaccitech and the brilliant academics whose research led to development of the platform technology and ultimately this potential COVID-19 vaccine. At OSI we are proud to have invested early in Vaccitech and played a part in this story.”
Bill Enright, Chief Executive Officer, Vaccitech, said: “The world needs a cost effective, easy to distribute, COVID-19 vaccine that demonstrates safety and works to control the continued spread of this devastating pandemic. Vaccitech is proud to have been a small part of the team, together with Oxford University and AstraZeneca, that moved this vaccine from concept to reality in record time. These latest data give us further confidence in the potential of our ChAdOx technology platform to address other major unmet needs in infectious diseases and cancer.”
In the interest of accelerating global vaccine development, Vaccitech assigned its rights to the vaccine candidate to Oxford University Innovation, to facilitate the licence of those rights to AstraZeneca for the development and manufacture of the vaccine. None of the parties will profit from vaccine sales during the pandemic.
Vaccitech is backed by leading investment institutions, including GV (formerly Google Ventures), Sequoia Capital China, Liontrust (formerly Neptune), Korea Investment Partners and Oxford Sciences Innovation.
Read the full press release from Oxford University here