Blue Water vaccines, which are developing a universal flu vaccine, close $ 7 million led by CincyTech

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Credit: Blue Water Vaccines

  • Vaccine based on pioneering mathematical models, research of the University of Oxford
  • CincyTech leads the excess financing round; company based in Cincinnati, Ohio

(Cincinnati, Ohio, USA and Oxford, UK) – July 9, 2019 Blue Water Vaccines, a company that develops a universal flu vaccine based on technology developed at the University of Oxford, closed a tour of 7 million dollar capital driven by CincyTech. The round was signed in excess, with further participation of private investors affiliated with CincyTech. The funding follows a promising preclinical study that offered an early validation of the new approach to vaccine design.

Decades after vaccines have drastically reduced deadly infectious diseases including smallpox, diphtheria and polio, the flu remains a threat to global public health. More than a billion people contract the flu annually, causing 3-5 million hospitalizations and 500,000 deaths. Currently, seasonal vaccines are customized each year to protect themselves from the flu strains that world health officials believe are the most dominant, with no guarantee of protection. As recently reported by the Centers for Disease Control, the 2018-2019 seasonal influenza vaccine was among the least effective over the years, with an overall 29% overall and only 9% in the second half of the season.

"The seasonal influenza vaccine is based on arcane technology," said Joseph Hernandez, expert conductor of entrepreneurial biotechnology and CEO of Blue Water Vaccines. "The development of a single vaccine to protect against all strains of the flu requires a more refined understanding of the virus and a radically new approach. Our vaccine, derived from innovative mathematical and research models, represents both."

The results of a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Oxford, led by the epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta PhD and by the virologist Craig Thompson, suggest that the influence is not as variable as previously believed. Mathematical models that analyze the way in which historical influenza strains change over time have led to the theory that the epidemic behavior of influenza is mainly determined by immune responses acting on regions of the virus that are limited in variability. Further research has identified these regions; Vaccinated mice with only four variants of the region of limited variability received immunity from all strains of historical influenza.

"This work is a good example of how evolutionary models can have a translational impact. We have gone from a prediction of a mathematical model that describes how the influence evolves towards a project for a vaccine against universal influence" said Dr. Thompson.

Blue Water Vaccines has obtained the exclusive rights to the vaccine from Oxford University Innovation, the research marketing company of the University of Oxford.

"The Blue Water Vaccines team is pursuing the Holy Grail of vaccines: a vaccine against universal flu," said S? amuel Lee MD, director of CincyTech. ? "We are pleased to support a world-class team to achieve this goal."

"CincyTech is an experienced partner with a strong portfolio of companies focused on human health," said Hernandez. "Cincinnati is the ideal place to efficiently build the company and its successes in the innovation of life sciences."

The capital will finance a further preclinical study, followed by a Phase 1 study targeted for 2020. The company will be based in Cincinnati, Ohio, with a laboratory in Oxford, UK.

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ABOUT THE BLUE WATER VACCINES

Using the technology developed by scientists at Oxford University, Blue Water vaccines are working to develop a single vaccine that protects against all flu strains.

ON CINCYTECH

CincyTech invests in undeniably better opportunities that interrupt current markets or create new markets and can be quickly scaled down for maximum impact. We provide the catalytic capital and basic entrepreneurial support in the very early stages to help visionary founders transform innovation into digital and human health-oriented companies. CincyTech is among the most active seed funds in the Midwest, with portfolio companies backed by coastal and global investors. CincyTech is supported by Ohio Third Frontier.

ON THE INNOVATIVE INNOVATION OXFORD

Oxford University Innovation? supports innovation activities in all university divisions, managing transfer activities and technological consultancy and creating a cutting-edge ecosystem of innovation at the world level, with the University of Oxford at the center.

We provide access to technology from Oxford researchers through intellectual property licensing, spinout company formation and material sales, and to academic expertise through our consulting services team. We create both profit-making and social enterprises. The Investment and New Ventures team supports investors interested in early-stage initiatives and manages the Oxford Angels network.

Our Incubator Startup supports members and former members of the University who wish to start or grow business initiatives that are not university spinouts.

Oxford University Innovation is the highest university patent company in the United Kingdom and the first in the UK for university spinouts, having created over 170 new companies since 1988. In the 2017/18 financial year we have completed more than 50 licenses and consulting agreements every month.

Contact: Peg Rusconi | Communications Director, CincyTech prusconi@cincytechusa.com | +1 617.910.6217

Gregg Bayes-Brown | Innovation at the University of Oxford Gregg.Bayes-Brown@innovation.ox.ac.uk | +44 1865 280867

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! they are not responsible for the accuracy of the press releases published on EurekAlert! by the contributing bodies or the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

. (tagToTranslate) Biotechnology (t) Virology (t) Algorithms / Models (t) Medicine / Health (t) Epidemiology (t) Immunology / Allergies / Asthma (t) Vaccines (t) Infectious diseases / Emerging (t) Public health

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