The vaccine candidate uses a well-established measles vaccine vector whose core technology has been developed at the Institut Pasteur, in France. In the past twelve months, Themis identified several suitable validated Zika antigens for the development of the vaccine.
The company’s team had tested a number of candidate vaccines in animal models, and has already initiated a toxicity study and GMP manufacturing.
The main part of the programme supported by Innovate UK is the Phase 1 clinical trial, as well as the development of a thermostable formulation for the vaccine.
One of the major advantages of the Themis Zika vaccine candidate is a validated as well as cost-efficient production process. The measles vector technology developed by Themis forms the basis of all current vaccine candidates advanced by the company. This allows a rapid upscaling of the very cost effective vaccine production process once the vaccine candidate has been determined. This ability is critical for a vaccine that is supposed to combat diseases such as Zika from spreading in highly populated areas.
Additionally, the measles vaccine has already proved its high efficacy and safety on well over a billion individuals over the last 30–40 years, and the technology offers an excellent safety profile.
Under the terms of a broad license agreement with the Institut Pasteur, Themis owns the rights to use the measles vector for a wide range of indications including Chikungunya and the Zika Virus.