University of Oxford

The Jenner Insitute, Prof. Adrian V.S. Hill

Oxford University can lay claim to some nine centuries of continuous existence and is the oldest English-speaking University in the world. Renowned for its excellence as a centre of learning and a forum for intellectual debate, the university today has more academic staff working in world-class research departments than any other UK university. Its current academic community includes over 70 Fellows of the Royal Society and around 100 Fellows of the British Academy. Isis Innovation, the University’s technology transfer company, files on average one new patent application a week and spins out a new company from university research every two months.

Oxford is the largest centre for academic research in infection and immunity in the UK. The malaria and tuberculosis (TB) vaccine groups lead by Adrian Hill at the University of Oxford have been developing malaria and TB vaccines since 1994 and undertaking clinical trials since 1999. The group has generated a total of nine recombinant viral-vectored vaccines, targeting liver-stage malaria or TB antigens, and taken these through successful good manufacturing practice (GMP) production and phase I and IIa studies in Oxford, with some proceeding to phase Ib and IIb field efficacy trials in Gambian and Kenyan adults and children. More recently, as part of that group, the team led by Simon Draper at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics has focused on the development of viral-vectored vaccines targeting blood-stage malaria antigens. This group has now expanded to five persons, developing adenoviral and MVA vectors expressing major candidate antigens such as MSP1 and AMA1. The group has focused on extensive pre-clinical testing of candidate vaccines using rodent models of malaria and rabbit studies for GIA activity of candidate P. falciparum vaccines. More recently, a substantial translational vaccine research grant has been secured by this group from the UK Medical Research Council to fund the first Phase I/IIa clinical trial in Oxford of viral-vectored blood-stage malaria vaccines expressing MSP1. Other funding applications are in process for vectors expressing a second target antigen, AMA1, and it now seems likely that support for GMP manufacture and clinical testing of this vaccine will be provided by the EMVDA (an EC-funded FP6 integrated project).