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SK bioscience - Health & life sciences

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SK bioscience partners with Vaxxas on needle-free typhoid vaccine

SK bioscience is partnering with Australian biotech company Vaxxas to develop a needle-free, second-generation typhoid vaccine. The partnership is supported by a US$3.67 million grant from global charitable foundation Wellcome. 

Under the partnership agreement, SK bioscience will supply the antigen used by its typhoid conjugate vaccine, SKYTyphoid™. The vaccine was developed by SK bioscience and the International Vaccine Institute, with funding support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Vaxxas will reformulate the antigen so it can be “printed” onto its high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) technology. The technology uses a patch with thousands of vaccine-coated micro-projections. The patch is applied to the skin for a few seconds to deliver the vaccine to the immune cells immediately below the skin’s surface.  

The antigen will also be reformulated to be more stable at high temperatures than required for needle and syringe vaccination. The vaccines could then be potentially stored and distributed at room temperature, making them more accessible to lower- and middle-income countries with limited cold-chain distribution infrastructure. 

Vaxxas will conduct preclinical studies on the reformulated vaccine. If successful, the studies will be followed by a Phase I human clinical trial. The project is expected to be completed within two years from initiation to reporting the data from the Phase I clinical trial. 

Fighting influenza with the Doherty Institute 

SK bioscience has also signed a research collaboration agreement with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) in Melbourne, Australia. 

The agreement will include: 

  • testing anti-influenza compounds to identify new antivirals  

  • capacity building in low- and middle-income countries of the region  

  • developing a new influenza vaccine platform. 

The Doherty Institute is one of seven WHO Collaborating Centres for Reference and Research Influenza (WHOCCRRI). The Doherty Institute has more than 700 staff who work on infection and immunity through a broad spectrum of activities. This includes discovery research; diagnosis, surveillance and investigation of infectious disease outbreaks; and the development of ways to prevent, treat and eliminate infectious diseases. 

Australia’s healthcare system is underpinned by a world-class medical research sector, nurtured in our universities and hospitals, medical research institutes and life science companies. Find out more about Australia’s thriving health and life sciences sector. 

How Austrade helped  

Austrade will continue to provide SK bioscience with insights on the Australian life sciences market and introduce the company to collaborative research opportunities. 

Austrade will support international delegates attending the AusBiotech 2023 conference (1–3 November 2023) in Brisbane. The Seoul Bio Hub will host the Korea-themed session on 2 November followed by the Korea night networking event. 

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Published: 25 September 2023

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