SA biotech firm wins State Government grant to trial low-cost pneumococcal vaccine


South Australian biotech company GPN Vaccines has secured a $1 million State Government grant to complete its first-in-human clinical trials for a more effective and lower cost pneumococcal vaccine.

GPN Vaccines is one of six local startups to share in more than $2.75 million to commercialise their products. The company is commercialising groundbreaking research at the University of Adelaide by Professor James Paton, South Australia’s Scientist of the Year in 2017.

Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said the funding has been provided through the state’s Research Commercialisation and Startup Fund.

“This funding will directly support the creation of around 130 jobs in the long term, and will unlock significant investment in research and development in South Australia,” the Minister noted.

“GPN Vaccines will be supported with $1 million to complete clinical trials in Adelaide to assess the safety and effectiveness of its novel pneumococcal vaccine.

“Pneumococcal diseases cause more than a million deaths every year, particularly in third world countries, killing more children every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.”

Dr Tim Hirst, GPN Vaccines’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said the RCSF funding will leverage significant private sector investment, and successful completion of the Phase 1 clinical trial would significantly increase the company’s ability to raise capital for a more expansive multi-national and multi-site Phase 2 clinical trial.

“Our vaccine is an advanced technology product with the potential to have a truly global impact,” Dr Hirst added.

Dr Lauren Giorgio, GPN Vaccines’ Chief Operating Officer said the vaccine has the potential to result in substantial licensing revenue to reinvest into further research and product development in South Australia.

“The State Government has been a strong supporter of GPN Vaccines from the beginning,” Dr Giorgio continued.

“This investment will ensure our pneumonia vaccine continues to be developed locally, supporting Adelaide’s biotechnology ecosystem.”

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