MicroPharm Limited is pleased to announce that it is developing ovine polyclonal antibodies against Ebola  in collaboration with Public Health England (PHE) and the University of Oxford, and our candidate is one of twenty going through the first round of evaluation by PHE for efficacy against the  Ebola virus.

PHE has been approached by a number of academic and commercial entities requesting rapid evaluation of experimental therapies and vaccines for Ebola.  A £200k award from the Wellcome Trust will now be used by PHE scientists for the first round of evaluating potential treatment options, and to determine the most viable ones for further development.

Up to twenty therapeutic candidates have entered the first round of evaluation, with PHE and the Wellcome Trust expected to provide guidance on appropriate course of action for those which show promise. MicroPharm and PHE have also pledged additional funding to take this product up to in vivo proof of concept within the next few months.

Ian Cameron, CEO of MicroPharm said:

“We have been working with PHE since 2008 to develop ovine polyclonal antibodies to treat Clostridium difficile infections, and this work has secured funding up to Phase 2a trials from the Technology Strategy Board.”

“We have now expanded our collaboration to explore if this approach could work against Ebola, and are grateful to PHE and the University of Oxford for their support.”

“Ovine antibody based products have a successful and safe profile, including our snake antivenom which is used widely in West  Africa.”

Professor Miles Carroll, Head of Research Microbiology Services for PHE said:

“Public Health England scientists have been working tirelessly both on the ground in West Africa and here in the UK to support international efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak, and I’m delighted my team can utilise our expertise to help develop a treatment.”

“We have robust mechanisms in place for detecting and responding to any infections within the UK, but ultimately the best possible defence is to address the Ebola outbreak at its source. Development of treatment options will not only assist with the current outbreak, but help us to prevent future outbreaks.”

Dr Seshadri Vasan, PHE Senior Business Development Manager and one of the co-investigators of the project said:

“PHE has a track record of scientific innovation and development, and this funding from Wellcome Trust will allow us to utilise our experience and expertise to assist in the fight against Ebola.”

“WHO has declared developing treatment a key global priority, and the Public Health England scientists at Porton will have a crucial role to play.”

“If found to be safe and effective, ovine polyclonals could be a rapid and affordable treatment option for Africa and globally.” 

Notes to Editors 

  1. MicroPharm Limited (MicroPharm) is a SME based in West Wales. It was founded in 1998 by Professor John Landon and Dr Ruth Coxon. The company’s core expertise lies in the raising of ovine antisera containing high levels of specific antibodies and the subsequent purification and modification of such antibodies to produce a range of immunotherapeutic products for clinical use. All are designed to treat acute, life-threatening emergencies, have been developed at the request of the medical profession and are required urgently either because no alternative exists or because any alternative is ineffective and/or unsafe.
  2. Public Health England (PHE)’s mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk
  3. MicroPharm, along with PHE and the University of Leeds, have been awarded £2.1 million grant from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to conduct Phase 1 and Phase 2a clinical trials of PolyCAb. These polyclonal antibodies are being developed by MicroPharm and PHE to treat Clostridium difficile infections. Extending this approach, MicroPharm and PHE, along with Dr Thomas Bowden and Professor David Stuart FRS of the University of Oxford, are currently developing ovine polyclonal antibodies against Ebola.
  4. The Wellcome Trust award for rapid down selection of experimental Ebola therapies has been awarded to PHE Porton scientists Professor Miles Carroll, Professor Roger Hewson, Dr Seshadri Vasan, Dr Julia Vipond, Dr Simon Funnell and Dr Stuart Dowall. MicroPharm’s candidate is one of twenty candidates selected for the first round of evaluation of promising Ebola therapies by PHE.