BIG in Japan

BigDNA granted patent for core vaccine technology in Japan

BigDNA has been granted a patent for its core bacteriophage vaccine platform in Japan, opening up this market for future vaccines using this technology, including vaccines against Influenza and Chlamydia. This follows the announcement last year of the patent granted for BigDNA’s Hepatitis B vaccine in Japan.

The technology allows vaccines to be produced faster and more cost effectively than traditional methods. On the 12 month anniversary of being awarded ‘Best New Life Sciences Company in Scotland’ by Scottish Enterprise at their Life Science Awards,

BigDNA’s CEO Dr John March commented “This is an important commercial milestone for BigDNA and is great news for Scotland. Japan is an important region for us being the third largest market for vaccines and it is forecast that vaccine uptake in Japan is set to increase.”

This patent builds upon the links that BigDNA already has with Asia including a collaboration with the China Agricultural University in Beijing to develop a vaccine against Chlamydia in pigs. The Asia-pacific region is of great importance to BigDNA, being home to developed countries, such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and emerging economies, such as India, Malaysia, Thailand and China. Many in the latter groups are self-sufficient in funding national vaccination programs.

About BigDNA In February 2010 Edinburgh based BigDNA Ltd successfully raised £2m of funding from the Venture Fund arm of Scottish Enterprise and private investors. This funding enabled the company to develop its platform vaccine delivery technology towards clinical proof of concept. The technology being developed by Dr. John March and his team at Roslin Biocentre, uses bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) modified so that they are able to deliver a vaccine. These ‘DNA vaccines’ contain the genetic instructions (DNA) of the disease organism rather than using the organism itself, which conventional vaccines rely upon. ENDS


EDITORS NOTES: BigDNA Ltd was set up in 2007 by Dr John March, as a spin out from the Moredun Research Institute in Edinburgh, to develop and commercialise new vaccination technologies based on modified bacteriophage (bacterial viruses). Based at Roslin BioCentre, Roslin, the company currently employs 17 people. The Board of Directors is chaired by Lord Roger Freeman. The company’s impressive Advisory Committee includes Professor (Lady) Noreen Murray, molecular geneticist, William Powlett Smith, former leader of Ernst & Young’s UK biotechnology practice, Douglas Thomson, ex-CEO of SingVax, Jill Makin, ex-Emergent BioSciences Vice President R&D, American scientist Max Gottesman – Revson Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Microbiology at Columbia, Dr John Beadle formerly founder and Chief Medical Officer at PowerMed (sold to Pfizer), Dr Dan McLain, formerly Director of Toxicology at Powderject Vaccines, Dr Steve Abedon, Associate Professor at the Department of Microbiology, at The Ohio State University, Columbus and Dr Arvind Mahajan, a cellular microbiologist leading vaccine research on food borne pathogens at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Stimson (University of Strathclyde) joined the Committee in July 2010 as consultant immunologist. BigDNA technology The DNA vaccine is placed inside a bacterial virus, known as a bacteriophage (or phage), with special genetic instructions so that the vaccinated host can make the vaccine itself by reading this DNA. Thus the host, or patient, actually makes the vaccine, rather than it being manufactured externally. Dr John March, chief executive, BigDNA Ltd Dr John March is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He has a BSc in Molecular Biology and a PhD in DNA Replication, and an MBA from the University of Dundee. He has held many important research positions including at the Dept of Molecular Biology at Edinburgh University, the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, and Harvard Medical School, Boston USA. He was a research fellow at the Centre for Genome Research University of Edinburgh. Amongst very many professional memberships, he sits on the review panel of DEFRA, Exotic Disease Research Programme. He is an enterprise fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, and an award winner of the Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept Award. He has published many papers on Bacteriophages and Biotechnology, vaccines, gene therapy and antibacterials, and is the key inventor on the patents for Bacteriophage-mediated immunisation.

Contact: Carol Anderson
Phone: +44 131 718 6022