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Gates and Kymab: Origins

Working with the world's best

Back to Allan Bradley's path to Kymab

"We'd been going about two years when Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation got in touch," says Allan Bradley, Kymab CTO. "With their interest in vaccines for diseases in lower-income countries, they were aware of the differences between non-human and human platforms. Developing vaccines in our Kymouse™ platform with its whole human repertoire is a logical and sensible approach that appealed to them. They could see a route to more predictive vaccine design."

Although the overall structure and arrangements of immune system genes and proteins is highly conserved between mammals, their sequences have diverged, becoming species specific through evolution. If we examine the divergence, we can see that rabbit genes - the rabbit is a common species used to explore vaccine development - are likely to be poor predictors of the effectiveness of a human antibody: they've evolved too far.

In addition to the commercial investment where the Gates Foundation seeks a financial return, the Foundation is also paying Kymab to carry out specific work programmes. These work programmes provide contact with other partners, commercial and academic, and provide an excellent springboard and source of knowledge.

Kymab’s current programmes include in malaria, HIV and typhoid fever, diseases which, together, kill around 2.4 million people each year, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study of 2013

The opportunity might not be only in vaccine development. Many of the deaths from infectious disease are in the very young, and vaccines are poorly effective in young children and children often not vaccinated. Most deaths from pertussis (whooping cough), for example, are of children under six months of age. There can be a role for therapeutic antibodies in infected, unvaccinated people.

"Kymab is one of the biggest players in Infectious disease," says Bradley, "There is only one marketed antibody product for infectious disease, Synagis for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. With our partners, we can bring other, designed and targeted treatments to the clinic."

Back to Allan Bradley's path to Kymab