DCU are collaborating with an American biotechnology company to develop cancer vaccinations and immunotherapies.
The agreement between DCU and Vaccinogen was signed last week and the company will be setting up a research lab on DCU’s campus.
“From the Biotechnology School’s perspective this is a really exciting opportunity,” Dr Sandra O’Neill, head of the Biotechnology Department told The College View. “It creates important links between DCU and Vaccinogen.”
Dr Paul Leonard who is a graduate of the university will now join Vaccinogen and will oversee the project. Other DCU alumni will be involved which is also great for the college, according to Dr O’Neill.
Dr O’Neill noted that DCU will be receiving money for rent of their property to the US company, but the main benefit to the university is the opportunities it will create for student-research.
“The fact that a new research lab is on the campus gives more opportunities for PHD research and the fact that Vaccinogen is an international company makes it even better,” she said.
Dr Leonard, who is a lead researcher in DiCAST (Direct Clone Analysis and Selection Technology), will be integrating this technology with Vaccinogen’s.
Vaccinogen, who already has a base in Amsterdam, was looking to expand its business in Europe and when it learned about the DCU-developed DiCAST, it believed this technology would help revolutionize its business.
Vaccinogen develops vaccines that attack any cancer cells left over after surgery to reduce the cancer from recurring.
Under the agreement Vaccinogen can use the DiCAST technology for two-years and then re-evaluate how its research has developed.
“It is a tremendous opportunity to join Vaccinogen and continue playing a direct role in leveraging DiCAST to potentially transform the discovery and development of immunologic therapeutics, including cancer vaccines,” Dr Leonard said.
Vaccinogen believes that the DiCAST technology will give its company a competitive advantage as it will help identify new antibody drugs.
Peter Morsing, head of Business Development and Strategy at Vaccinogen, noted that “the high-throughput screening capabilities that DiCAST offers are widely sought within the pharmaceutical industry as a key component of early-stage antibody production and drug discovery.”