Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funding for Oxford vaccine company


Enesi Pharma the Milton Park, Oxford-based pharmaceutical company developing unique injectable solid dose drug-device vaccine products, has been awarded grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The funding will support a new project to evaluate Enesi’s ImplaVax®technology platform for enabling the development and delivery of solid dose vaccines for Measles and Rubella (M&R).

The project aims to confirm if the ImplaVax platform can impart significant advantages to the delivery of vaccines for these diseases. An ImplaVax-enabled solid dose M&R vaccine could eliminate the need for reconstitution together with all associated needlestick and cross contamination hazards and wastes.

Improved thermal stability would also be a major added benefit aiding the cost effectiveness of supply and robustness of delivery particularly in low- and middle-income countries where cold-chain issues and access to target populations for vaccinations can be challenging.

Measles remains one of the leading causes of childhood mortality leading to an estimated 450 deaths each day worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. It is highly infectious and serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (brain swelling), ear and respiratory infections. Rubella is usually a mild infection in childhood however when an unprotected woman is infected while pregnant it can result in miscarriage, serious or sometimes fatal complications for the foetus including hearing, eye and heart defects as well as autism and diabetes. Measles and rubella infections are preventable through immunisation but because of persistent gaps in immunisation coverage outbreaks of both infections continue to occur, exacerbated by vaccine hesitancy and refusals and gaps in surveillance and reporting.

David Hipkiss, Enesi Pharma CEO, said: “We are honoured and delighted that the potential of ImplaVax has been recognised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with this new grant award. We believe that ImplaVax offers a novel solution to many issues that affect the success levels of vaccination programmes around the world, including measles and rubella, and particularly in LMIC regions. We have embarked on multiple collaborations with leading companies, academic groups, government and non-government organisations, with the objective to demonstrate the global utility of ImplaVax in multiple disease areas that constitute major health issues. The success of these programmes could be transformational in improving global health.”