Spinout Aims to Produce Vaccines for Cancer

23 April 2021

A spinout company based on the work of Trinity Fellow Paul Fairchild aims to produce vaccines for cancer.

OxVax, a new immuno-oncology firm based on Professor Fairchild’s research, has been created to deliver vaccines capable of targeting various forms of cancer.

The company is developing an off-the-shelf next-generation vaccine platform capable of inducing a potent anti-tumour immune response. The platform is based on a  unique proprietary population of dendritic cells – which are critical to inducing immune responses in the body. Dendritic cells show T cells the antigens that mark out a tumour for destruction, allowing them to find and destroy it. The company’s technology allows the bulk manufacture of these dendritic cells from stem cells derived from donor’s blood. When combined with tumour-associated antigens, OxVax will be able to create a vaccine which can train the body to target and eliminate tumours. 

The company has raised its seed financing via South Korean-based biotech venture capitalist Lead Compass Investment and German biotech drug discovery and development partnership company Evotec. OxVax is also a beneficiary of funding from the EPA Trust and Guy Newton Translational Fund as well as the University Challenge Seed Fund, managed by Oxford University Innovation.

Professor Paul J Fairchild says of the spinout: ‘Our research has shown how stem cells can be used to create potentially unlimited numbers of a rare cell type of the immune system responsible for orchestrating the immune response to solid tumours.  We believe that access to these cells can open the field of cancer vaccination and transform the treatment of some of the most intractable cancers.’

OxVax’s research is based on the work of Professor Fairchild and Tim Davies from the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University. Professor Fairchild, founding Director of the Oxford Stem Cell Institute, will join the company as Chair of its Scientific Advisory Board, with Tim Davies as Head of Laboratory Operations. The founders will be joined by Marcelo Bravo as Chief Executive Officer, who has taken two companies public and has worked with the academic founders as part of an MSc in Experimental Therapeutics at Oxford.