UK-based synthetic biology firm Prokarium has secured $10 million from Saudi, Swedish and Korean investors to help drive clinical development of thermostable vaccines.

The new funds will enable the clinical development of groundbreaking vaccines against Chlamydia, C.difficile and enteric fever (typhoid and paratyphoid), as well as the expansion of its team for R&D in immuno-oncology.

The firm has developed a proprietary synthetic biology platform, Vaxonella, that enables thermostable microbes to be taken orally, to then produce vaccines from inside the body’s own immune cells, “triggering all arms of immunity with minimal side effects and at lower costs than injectable vaccines”.

According to the firm, the platform “has many technical advantages” over current injectable vaccines and also facilitates “the tackling of hitherto difficult-to-prevent diseases”.

Vaxonella’s 12-week thermostability at 40⁰C is “a game changer” for the transportation of vaccines to remote locations, and also improves access to underserved markets such as homes for the elderly, it added.

“The vaccine industry and the synthetic biology community in the UK are thriving and our team has worked hard to play a central role in both, winning several prestigious grants and government contracts,” said Prokarium’s chief executive, Dr Ted Fjallman.

“The new investment by RVC [Riyadh Valley Company], Flerie and KIP [Korea Investment Partners] is a clear endorsement of Prokarium’s leadership in developing novel, targeted medicines to prevent serious illnesses.”

Prokarium said it will expand its team with a new Head of immuno-oncology research and a VP of Business Development, and that it also intends to grow by partnering with global biopharmaceutical companies to maximise the potential of its products and vector technology platform.