Commercial Involvement

SapVax is the biotech start-up formed by the University of Auckland (through its wholly own commercialisation subsidiary Uniservices Limited) and BioMotiv, an US based drug development company and it is based on the licensed intellectual property developed by Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble, Professor Rod Dunbar and Dr Geoff Williams.

SapVax will develop a suite of first-in-class cancer vaccines based on a novel peptide platform technology. It has a pipeline of similar vaccines in development with lead vaccines targeting a key antigen expressed in a broad range of cancers and Epstein-Barr virus proteins strongly associated with certain cancers, including nasopharyngeal cancer, lymphoma, and gastric cancer.

The research was funded by the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery at the University of Auckland.

“The Auckland team’s discoveries present a novel platform for overcoming traditional barriers to developing cancer vaccines,” says Baiju R Shah, Chief Executive Officer of BioMotiv” We look forward to accelerating their work into breakthrough therapies through SAPVax.”

“We are delighted to be partnering with BioMotiv to launch SapVax and develop this exciting new platform into clinical candidates, to further the exciting promise of cancer immunotherapy”, says Will Charles, the General Manager of Technology Development at Uniservices.

BioMotiv is the mission-driven accelerator associated with The Harrington Project for Discovery and Development, a $300 million initiative for advancing medicine centered at University Hospitals at Cleveland. The focus is to accelerate breakthrough discoveries from research institutions into therapeutics for patients through an innovative model that efficiently aligns capital and collaboration.

Auckland UniServices Limited is the largest commercial research and development and knowledge transfer company of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and a wholly owned company of The University of Auckland. By connecting its clients with The University’s brightest academic minds, UniServices provides commercial organisations the innovative technologies they seek, and governments the national programmes they need. The results can mean huge strides in a company’s international competitive edge, or in a country’s health, education and welfare capability.

The Maurice Wilkins Centre is a centre of research excellence, focusing on serious human diseases.