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  • Paul T. Rubens

Backing British Innovation in Vaccine Research

Last month, we began working with Milltrust International, a specialist investment firm co-headquartered in London and Singapore and manager of the British Innovation Fund (BIF).

They're investing in ground-breaking vaccine research coming out of British universities. BIF backed the leading global vaccine platform co-owned by Vaccitech (Oxford University spinout) and The Jenner Institute. This is the platform that was licensed to Astra Zeneca, currently in Phase 3 trials and considered to be one of the leading candidates for an effective vaccine for Covid-19.

BIF also backed the world’s first multiplex test for Covid-19 antigens and antibodies, Attomarker, which just completed a convertible funding round of £1.5m, alongside a government grant of £540k, to be used for the following:

  • Roll-out of Attomarker’s rapid, Triple Antibody Test to private clinics in the UK from October / November 2020, via a nationwide pharmacy supplier (with additional access to over 6,000 clinics in the US). The test is conducted via Attomarker’s Liscar benchtop testing device, taking seven minutes, and has UK MHRA regulatory approval following extensive testing at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. It is the most advanced UK antibody test currently available. A FTSE 100 manufacturer helped manufacturer the prototype testing device and is ready to provide additional manufacturing capability (https://www.attomarker.com/attomarker-tv-interview).

  • Funding of trials at the UK’s Porton Down laboratory facility, following invitation by the UK government, to trial a rapid, saliva-based, combined antigen / antibody and flu test for Covid-19, to show if a person currently has the virus, has had the virus or is suffering from flu. This advanced testing capability has yet to be demonstrated by any test worldwide and Attomarker’s initial data has led to the government's invitation to expedite trials at the Porton Down facility. (https://www.attomarker.com/hunting-down-the-virus-in-the-community-will-help-resolve-lab-based-logjams-and-avoid-lockdowns).

Tamarack applauds BIF's commitment to supporting innovation in this critical area and the success they have achieved thus far working with spinouts from UK universities. It's these innovators that will move us forward towards solutions to the current pandemic and better equip us to handle similar health challenges that lie in our future.

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