iQur is focussed on research and development of a universal influenza vaccine, vaccines for malaria, dengue fever and human cytomegalovirus infection, and a vaccine for hepatitis C.
We are investigating new ways of producing our vaccines in plants, developing science at the forefront of new green pharmaceutical technology.
Seasonal ‘flu alone causes 250,000 to 500,000 deaths and three to five million cases of severe illness worldwide each year (World Health Organisation, 2014). The added risk of global pandemics, where extremely infectious strains of influenza are spread between continents, (as with the 2009 A/H1N1 strain, or the outbreak in 1919 which caused more deaths than the preceding World War), makes the need for the creation of a universal vaccine particularly pressing.
Why a universal vaccine?
Currently, each seasonal flu vaccine is specific to a particular strain of influenza. This means that each year, the prevalent strain of flu must be identified, a strain specific vaccine produced, and the population, particularly those most susceptible to virus (those at the extremes of age and immune-compromised) must be encouraged to be vaccinated.
Pandemics (widespread infections involving large areas such as continents or the whole world) require a vast quantity of a very specific vaccine, which is very difficult to assemble at short notice. Similarly to seasonal flu, current pandemic vaccines have to be designed based on knowledge of the specific strain causing the pandemic.
A universal vaccine would provide protective coverage against all strains of influenza, irrespective of annual or geographical variation; a universal flu vaccine will give coverage against all strains of flu, ideally for many years and would save millions of lives.
iQur are working now to develop a universal flu vaccine, testing it against antigens from all known strains of influenza A and influenza B.
With funding from a European Commission Framework 7 grant, iQur is leading Flutcore, a programme of seven partners representing four European countries, developing a universal flu A vaccine that will enter clinical trials in H2 2016.
Further to the innovative work we are doing on a universal flu vaccine, iQur is working with some of the world’s leading investigators to develop a malaria vaccine that is currently in the early stages of development. This also uses tandem core technology and we plan to go into development in 2016.
Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV)
HCMV is an unmet medical need, a virus without vaccine. HCMV can cause fetal abnormalities including hearing loss and brain damage, and life threatening systemic inflammatory pathology in those receiving immuno-suppressive treatment following organ transplantation.
Vaccines are needed to prevent primary infection and to boost natural immunity. At iQur we are working with leading academics to apply our tandem core technology to the development of a HCMV vaccine to protect immune-suppressed and other vulnerable individuals.
iQur is in the early stages of developing a preventative vaccine for hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is thought to affect over 150 million people worldwide, leading to death from liver failure due to liver cirrhosis, or liver cancer in about a quarter of those infected. Although major advances in drug development have delivered drugs capable of curing hepatitis C in most patients, these drugs are costly and do not provide protection against reinfection. Hepatitis C is a global health problem and it is unlikely that costly drug treatments will be the means to achieve global control of the infection. Furthermore, no infectious disease has been eradicated without the use of a prophylactic (preventative) vaccine. iQur is deploying its vaccine development expertise to create a prophylactic vaccine against Hepatitis C.
iQur has several vaccines in development, including one for universal influenza.
Contact us for more on the development of these vaccines