News story

UK Zika research awarded share of £120 million vaccine fund

New funding for vaccine development projects to help fight deadly diseases like Zika and Ebola.

The Zika virus

UK researchers creating new vaccines for epidemic diseases such as Zika and Ebola are among the winners of £22 million of funding, announced by the Department of Health today (18 November 2016).

The funding will be shared among 26 vaccine development projects. These projects will be the first to benefit from the UK Vaccine Network £120 million fund, launched last year to support Britain’s world-leading role fighting deadly diseases.

As part of the fund, the Department is also launching a further 2 competitions, worth £60 million, to give academics and scientists the opportunity to apply for financial support. This scale of investment means the UK is the second largest funder of research in this field.

The money supports targeted investments in vaccines for diseases with epidemic potential including projects working to prevent Ebola, Zika and Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever.

The government is also supporting 4 projects – worth £2.4 million combined – to develop successful prevention vaccines for diseases which are bioterror threats, such as Plague and Q Fever.

Public Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said:

The sobering reality is that infectious diseases do not respect borders; this was made all too clear during the outbreaks of Ebola and Zika.

Our brave UK experts led the emergency response in Sierra Leone and now we continue to lead both the fight against deadly diseases and in protecting the public. Last week, we announced our ability to deploy experts anywhere in the world within 48 hours of an outbreak and this week we are helping some our best scientists get potentially life-saving vaccines off the ground. The race to create new vaccines is on and I want the UK to win it.

The UK Vaccine Network brings together leading figures from industry, academia and philanthropy, including the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, the Wellcome Trust and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, said:

These awards support the critical early stage of vaccine design and development for diseases that could cause very serious outbreaks.

Creating a successful vaccine takes a lot of hard work and scientific research. The best way to create a vaccine is to test a range to ensure they are safe and then introduce them to clinical trials. This money will support this work and bring a new exciting range of vaccine technologies to use against diseases such as Zika for the first time.

These vaccine awards put the UK in a leading position in this vital and rapidly developing field.

Full list of winning projects

Project title Lead bidder Funding
Protective efficacy and neutralisation to select an optimal Zika virus vaccine Jenner Institute, Oxford University £498,870
Differential diagnostics of haemorrhagic fevers in resource poor environments BG Research Ltd £654,717
Improved Q Fever vaccine Mologic Ltd £522,800
An oral Zika vaccine Stabilitech Limited £214,270
A conditional system for inexpensive manufacture of attenuated vaccines Plymouth University £156,181
Polyhedrin-encased glycoproteins as novel cold chain independent vaccines Cell Guidance Systems £486,701
An affordable, oral vaccine against mosquito- and sexually-transmitted Zika virus Prokarium Ltd £394,407
LassaVacc Public Health England £593,928
A Dengue/Zika Vaccine that  avoids antibody-dependent enhancement  Excivion Ltd £500,000
Room temperature stable MVA-GP pox vectored vaccine against CCHF Nova Biopharma Technologies Ltd £428,646
Emerging viral vaccine antigen insert consortium (EVAC)      University of Cambridge £498,379
Development of an economically viable CCHF virus vaccine for local production Oxford Expression Technologies Ltd £217,428
Self-administered vaccines directed against Plague and MERS Proxima Concepts Limited £495,000
Development of a novel vaccine for rapid response against Plague Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford £359,777
‘Plug and display’ virus-like particle platform for rapid response vaccination Jenner Institute, University of Oxford £394,427
Development of a single dose ambient temperature stable vaccine for the prevention of Zika virus Themis Ltd £999,180
Rapid, simple manufacture and clinical evaluation of an oral plague vaccine Prokarium Ltd £1,035,557
A phase I clinical trial of a Chikungunya vaccine using a single dose and no adjuvant Jenner Institute, University of Oxford £976,757
Phase I study of a MVA based vaccine for Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic fever Public Health England £1,041,860
Addressing efficacy of a Dengue vaccine candidate in a macaque challenge model Jenner Institute, University of Oxford £488,611
Phase I studies of a novel chimpanzee adenovirus MERS vaccine Jenner Institute, University of Oxford £1.751m
Phase I studies of a novel chimpanzee adenovirus Rift Valley Fever vaccine for humans MRC Uganda Virus Research Institute, with Jenner Institute, Oxford and Pirbright Institute £1.690m
Design, development, GMP manufacture and Phase I trials of a Zika vaccine Centre for Virus Research, University of Glasgow with Jenner Institute, University of Oxford £1.196m
Advanced development of a safe and effective CCHF vaccine for livestock and humans Pirbright Institute and Public Health England £2.760m
Advanced development of a safe and effective Rift Valley Fever vaccine for livestock Pirbright Institute with Jenner Institute, University of Oxford and International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi £1.580m
A platform for the rapid development and production of candidate vaccines, analytical and diagnostic standards by plant-based transient expression for response to global viral threats John Innes Centre £1.985m
Published 18 November 2016