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10 January, 2017 - 10:37 By Kate Sweeney

Gates Foundation $9m to help Kymab accelerate HIV antibody cure

kymab, antibodies, cambridge

Global philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates are investing $9 million in Cambridge antibody technology in a bid to accelerate development of vaccines and therapeutics to fight HIV and other infectious diseases. Their foundation is supporting a new research programme by Kymab over three years. It bids to leverage the Kymouse™ antibody platform developed by the UK business.

The Gates Foundation will have the rights to develop and distribute any end products to low-income countries. Kymab will retain the rights to commercialise the products in developed countries. The funding builds on Kymab’s established work, allowing the parties to further collaborate in the future.

Kymab CEO Dr David Chiswell said: “We are delighted that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has extended our collaboration. We have built a strong infectious disease programme under Professor Paul Kellam, our vice-president of vaccines & infectious disease and we share the foundation’s aims to tackle diseases that have significant impact in some of the world’s poorest countries.

“We look forward to continuing to use our ability to produce human antibodies using our Kymouse™ technology to support and accelerate vaccine and therapeutic antibody development for global diseases.”

Professor Allan Bradley, Kymab’s chief technology officer, added: “It was always clear to me that the Kymouse™ was a valuable tool in the fight against infectious disease and this was also recognised very early by the Gates Foundation.

“Over the last two years we have worked with the Foundation to realise this ambition and their increased support is a fantastic recognition of Kymab’s continuing effort in testing vaccine candidates for infectious disease prevention and developing therapeutic antibodies for treatment.”

The extension of the collaboration with the Gates Foundation follows publication in Science last September of new findings which showed that Kymouse was an effective platform for discovering and testing novel vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases including HIV.

Kymab has been working with the Gates Foundation and its partners since 2014 on programmes in diseases such as malaria, HIV, and typhoid; together, these diseases result in more than one million deaths each year. 

In addition to the new investment in Kymab’s research, the Gates Foundation has also invested $30m in Kymab’s Series B and Series C funding rounds, which supported development of the Kymouse platform.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr David Chiswell, CEO of Kymab

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