Belfast Telegraph

Zika virus vaccine firm handed £500,000 grant booster

The Government has granted £500,000 to a small British firm that is on track to develop a Zika vaccine in a matter of years.

Cambridge-based Excivion is now looking for backers to match that funding and ideally bring immunisation for the mosquito-borne virus to market by 2023.

Led by immunologist and CEO Peter Laing, Excivion clinched the contract as part of a competition run by the Small Business Research Initiative and the Government's innovation agency, InnovateUK.

It was part of the Department of Health's plans to invest up to £10 million in two competitions that would prompt development of vaccines for infectious diseases and technologies.

Excivion is working with "micro-encapsulation" technology that could increase vaccine strength.

It also hopes to eliminate the need for refrigeration, which would allow the vaccine to be stockpiled for pandemic emergencies.

In mid-August, the company announced a partnership with US-based Nasdaq-listed pharma firm Xenetic Biosciences to develop technologies to deliver the vaccine.