Prokarium Ltd is a clinical stage SME with a dual business model:
Development of in-house oral vaccines and out-licensing of its Vaxonella oral vaccine delivery platform. Currently the focus is on developing vaccines to prevent Chlamydia, Clostridium difficile , and exacerbations of COPD and asthma. Prokarium’s current investor is Flerie Invest AB, a Swedish investor focused on life science investments globally. Flerie is continuing to invest as part of an ongoing Series B raise.
Why invest in Prokarium? What are the competitive advantages?
Prokarium has applied synthetic biology to develop its oral vaccine production platform, Vaxonella®, which could work for most recombinant protein antigens whilst significantly reducing costs and improving customer compliance. A suite of proprietary genetic technologies have been applied to convert the chassis organisms, Salmonella enterica serovars Typhimurim and Typhi, into safe and effective vectors and in vivo bioreactors for recombinant vaccines.
Vaxonella’s mucosal immune stimulation, particularly via T-Cell responses results in long-lasting mucosal immunity. This oral vaccine platform also represents an opportunity to develop thermostable, self-administered vaccines. Prokarium has developed an advanced process, which enable stability of vaccines at 40°C for several weeks. Such a thermostable vaccine would break the crucial final links between the distribution centres and the consumers (where most vaccine degradation occurs), reducing distribution costs by 50%. Self-administered oral vaccines will significantly reduce the cost and increase the scope of vaccination. Syringe reuse causes 1.3 million deaths p.a. and results in over $535 million p.a. in additional healthcare costs. Injections must be carried out by healthcare professionals and in combination with the need for a refrigerated supply chain, this means many people never get vaccinated.
Downstream processing of protein vaccines is often responsible for around 80% of manufacturing costs. Because Prokarium can simply produce a master cell bank and culture each vaccine batch in a fermenter, instead of having to produce and purify proteins from bioreactors, it is estimated that up to 70% of manufacturing costs can be saved, making the oral vaccines based on Vaxonella more accessible to at-risk populations, who otherwise could not afford the latest advancements in vaccination technology.
Prokarium’s vaccine chassis strain has been extensively evaluated in ten clinical trials (phase 1 and phase 2 studies) and given to 471 volunteers- including over a hundred children- in the USA, UK and Vietnam. It combines proven excellent safety and an inability to persist in the environment with a high degree of viability during culture and immunogenicity, making it the most promising live bacterial vector in development.