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Evotec invests into Oxford Cell Therapy Company "OxVax"

  • Evotec is co-leading investment into OxVax, a spinout from Oxford University, which is formed with the objective of producing first-in-class cancer vaccines. 

Hamburg, Germany, 21 April 2021:
Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) announced today that the Company has invested into OxVax, a new immuno-oncology company based on research from Oxford University, which enables the development of the next generation of cancer vaccines with the potential to overcome the limitations of the current approaches.

OxVax is developing an innovative cancer vaccine platform based on a unique and proprietary population of dendritic cells capable of inducing a potent anti-tumour immune response. The company's technology allows the bulk manufacture of these cells from donor blood derived stem cells. By ex vivo loading of these cells with tumour antigens, OxVax will be able to create a vaccine which can train the body to target and eliminate tumours.

The research is based on the work of Professor Paul J Fairchild and Tim Davies from the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University. The founders will be joined by Marcelo Bravo as Chief Executive Officer, a serial entrepreneur who has taken two companies public.

Evotec’s investment is co-led by the South Korean-based venture capital company Lead Compass Investment. Financial details were not disclosed. 

Dr. Thomas Hanke, Head of Academic Partnerships at Evotec, said: ‘We are excited to work with the Oxford researchers and Lead Compass to support the development of next-generation dendritic cell therapies to treat tumours with a high unmet medical need in the future. This investment fits well with Evotec’s ambition to become a biotech powerhouse in off-the-shelf cell therapy offerings.’

Professor Paul J Fairchild, Associate Professor of the Immunobiology of Stem Cells at Oxford University, said: “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.”

Marcelo Bravo, Chief Executive Officer at OxVax, added: “Our platform enables the manufacture at scale of an off-the-shelf highly potent vaccine which addresses the major limitations that have frustrated cancer vaccine development in the past.  Our immediate focus will be the definition of the quality profile of the product and the industrialisation of the manufacturing protocol which will put us in a strong position to proceed towards the clinic.”

Tae-erk Kim, Chief Executive officer at Lead Compass Investment, added: “We are excited to invest in OxVax’s technology since it addresses the low migration, cross-presentation, and T-cell activation problems of past dendritic cell cancer treatments. Promising results in an oncology setting would further pave the way for OxVax to expand its technology into other therapeutic areas and be the first company to have dendritic cells act as the true control tower of the immune system.”

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Last Updated: 21-Apr-2021