Where Immunology
Meets Engineering Biology

We develop targeted vaccines
and cancer immunotherapies
to clinical proof of concept

Technology

We develop products using a technology platform based on engineered bacteria, proven safe in 10 adult and paediatric clinical trials in the US, UK and Vietnam. Using our expertise in engineering biology and immunology we apply our platform to prevent infectious diseases (Vaxonella®) and to treat solid tumours (Onconella). Our safe, engineered bacteria retain their natural ability to survive transiently inside of human cells after being ingested, and we can use this to deliver and produce medicines from inside of the body’s own cells. This has many advantages including oral delivery and stimulation of strong, protective mucosal, antibody-based and cellular immunity.

Vaxonella®

Bacteria are ingested, pass through the stomach and then traverse the lining of the small intestine via microfold cells (M cells) into lymphatic nodules called Peyer’s patches. There they are phagocytosed by antigen-presenting cells (APCs) such as macrophages and express the antigen genes. The antigens are processed and presented by the APCs to stimulate cellular and humoral immune responses, including mucosal responses.

Onconella

In this adaption of our platform technologies, we leverage proprietary genetic engineering interventions to build on the natural ability of our bacterial strains to seek out and colonise solid tumours. We have developed attenuated strains capable of targeting tumours without causing pathology in normal tissues. These Onconella strains are also capable of delivering specific immunostimulatory cargo aimed at activating the patient’s immune system to destroy tumours.

Team

Ted Fjällman

CEO

Ted took over as Prokarium’s CEO in March 2014 after serving as Development Director since December 2011. Prior to joining Prokarium, he has held positions in clinical research at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and in strategy consulting at Sweden’s Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences, where he coordinated the country’s national innovation strategy. Ted holds a PhD from the University of Guelph, Canada, and has been recognised as a leader in biotechnology under the Sloan Foundation funded Synthetic Biology Leadership Accelerator Program (LEAP). He is a member of the international Bacterial Vaccines Network (BactiVac) management board, as well as an active member of the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA).

Kristen Albright

VP BD & Translational Research

Kristen Albright joined Prokarium in 2018 as the VP, Business Development and Translational Research. Prior to joining Prokarium, Kristen was a Life Science Investor at Osage University Partners, a Philadelphia-based venture capital fund focused on academic spinouts from leading research universities. At Osage, Kristen completed multiple deals in the immunology, oncology and rare disease spaces ranging from target validation to clinical-stage companies. Earlier in her career, Kristen worked within Business Development at multiple mid-size companies including Emergent BioSolutions and Cangene Corporation, where she specialized in asset licensing and M&A. In the latter she was involved in the acquisition, integration and regulatory approval of a haemophilia programme. Kristen earned her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and is a licensed pharmacist. She also holds an MBA from Saint Joseph’s University.

Livija Deban

VP Immunology & Oncology

Livija joined Prokarium in 2018 as the VP Immunology and Oncology. She is leading the strategic and operational development of Prokarium’s immuno-oncology portfolio. As an immunologist Livija specializes in mucosal and tumour immunology, immunological assay development and immuno-oncology. Prior to joining Prokarium, Livija headed the lead selection and immuno-oncology R&D at Oxford BioTherapeutics where she focused on the target discovery and the development of immunomodulatory antibodies for cancer treatment. She has a MA in Medical Biotechnology and holds a PhD in Basic and Applied Immunology. Livija conducted her research at Cancer Research UK and King’s College London before joining the biotech industry.

Mike Darsley

Head of Clinical Development

Mike is Prokarium’s Head of Clinical Development and brings over 25 years of experience in biopharmaceutial development from the US, UK and Denmark. He was VP bacterial vaccine research at Acambis UK, Chief Development Officer at ACE Biosciences and TD Vaccines in Denmark and has provided independent product development consultancy to pharma, biotech and academic clients. He has a BA in biochemistry and a D.Phil in molecular immunology from the University of Oxford and was a Fogarty International Postdoctoral Fellow at the US National Cancer Institute, NIH. Mike has been involved in the development of a number of vaccines against diarrhoeal diseases and continues to be consulted as Key Opinion Leader by various organisations in the enteric diseases field.

Paola Salerno

Head of Molecular Biology

Paola is Prokarium’s Head of Molecular Biology. She joined Prokarium in 2013 as Principal Scientist, following on two years as Senior Scientist at Cobra Biologics within the molecular biology group, where she was involved as lead scientist in a number of collaborative research and development projects. Paola has a PhD in microbial molecular genetics from the University of Palermo, Italy and has worked as postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Experimental Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis in Milan (Italy), the School of Biology of Lund University (Sweden) and the Institute for Life Science of Swansea University (UK). Her research activity has focused mainly on microbiology and microbial molecular genetics.

Steve Chatfield

Chairman of the board

Steve is Chairman of the Board of Prokarium and brings more than 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, developing vaccines in small and large businesses, most recently as Executive Vice President, Strategic Investments at Emergent BioSolutions. Steve has also served as Executive Director of the UK Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England) and has held posts at Medeva and the Wellcome Foundation. In his career he has focused on the development of products to prevent and treat infectious disease and is internationally recognized as an opinion leader in the vaccines field with more than 100 scientific papers.

Carl-Johan Spak

Director

Carl-Johan represents Flerie Invest on the board of Prokarium and was its first CEO until Ted Fjällman took over in 2014. He graduated with a doctorate in dental surgery in 1980 and a PhD in pharmacology from the Karolinska institute in 1984. He has since held a number of positions in medical and pharma companies and currently serves as director of several technology development companies. Carl-Johan is Executive VP Development & Technology at Recipharm AB and Executive Director of Cobra Biologics Ltd.

Allan P. Jarvis

Director

Allan brings more than 40 years of experience in vaccines and biotechnology, most recently as VP Corp Dev at Sanofi Pasteur and VP BD and Strategy at Wyeth. Allan has built several smaller biotech companies as well: In 1980, Allan co-founded Damon Biotech, where he held diverse positions of increasing responsibility from Manager, Molecular Biology to VP Research and VP BD. From 1990 to 1992 he worked at Abbott Labs, as Director of Bus Dev. In 1992 he joined Repligen Corp. in the dual role of VP Business Planning for the parent company and SVP Commercial Development for its wholly owned subsidiary, Amira, Inc. Allan holds a PhD in Molecular Genetics from UC Davis.

Khalid Al-Saleh

Director

Khalid is the CEO of Riyadh Valley Company (RVC) and joined the Prokarium board after investment in Prokarium in January 2018. He is also an Associate Professor in Industrial Engineering at King Saud University (KSU), has conducted consultancy work for the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education, on e.g. IP regulations, and continues to serve as the Director of the IP and Technology Licensing Programme at KSU. He has published numerous papers in the field of Industrial Engineering, is a founding-member of the Saudi Inventors Society and is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) amongst others. Khalid holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from King Saud University and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Birmingham University.

Sangwoo Lee

Director

Sangwoo is a Managing Director and Head of Korea Investment Partners’ (KIP’s) US office based in Silicon Valley and joined the Prokarium board after investment in Prokarium in February 2018. He is responsible for the global expansion of Korea Investment Partners and actively explores cross-border investments. Sangwoo currently manages over 10 companies in his investment portfolio and participates on more than 5 boards. His portfolio companies range from biotech/healthcare companies such as Elastagen, Auris Surgical Robotics and KAHR to IT/Fintech companies such as SoFi and Le Tote. Sangwoo has started and grown two startups; Neomtel and Polidigm. Neomtel’s technology became a de-facto standard in Korea in the early 2000s and the company went IPO in 2007. Sangwoo received his B.S. and M.S. in Control and Instrumentation Engineering from Seoul National University.

Ted Fjällman

CEO

Ted took over as Prokarium’s CEO in March 2014 after serving as Development Director since the start in December 2011. Prior to joining Prokarium, he has held positions in clinical research at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and in strategy consulting at Sweden’s Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences, where he coordinated the country’s national innovation strategy. Ted holds a PhD from the University of Guelph, Canada, and has been recognised as a leader in biotechnology under the Sloan Foundation funded Synthetic Biology Leadership Accelerator Program (LEAP). He is a member of the international Bacterial Vaccines Network (BactiVac) management board, as well as an active member of the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA).

Pipeline

Enteric fever

S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A
Vaccine

FIH Phase 1
2H2019

Enteric fever, a preventable illness caused by Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A, is the most common bacterial bloodstream infection in South Asia. Despite progress made in controlling enteric fever in several parts of the world, it remains an important public health burden in South Asia and Africa. It has been estimated to cause >15 million illnesses and nearly 153,000 deaths worldwide annually and the incidence is estimated to be over 100 per 100,000 population.

Prokarium is developing Entervax™, a novel, oral bivalent vaccine for the prevention of enteric fever in at-risk populations. Entervax™ is based on the Vaxonella® platform and is the combination of our proprietary strain ZH9 (Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi ZH9), which has been safely administered to 351 individuals, plus a novel strain modified to express antigens specific to S. Paratyphi A. Entervax™ will be entering the clinic in 2H2019.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia trachomatis
Vaccine

Chlamydia trachomatis, a Gram-negative obligate intracellular pathogen, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that occurs in humans. Genital Chlamydia infection is of worldwide importance and concern. There were 203,000 diagnoses of Chlamydia related STI in 2017 in England (PHE) and 131 million new cases worldwide; 20% of the STIs occurring annually (WHO).

Even though infection is easily diagnosed, many infections are asymptomatic (50% of men and 90% of women) so a large proportion of cases remain undiagnosed. Infection with C. trachomatis can lead to long-term health problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that can cause permanent damage to the female reproductive system. Associated complications can include chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and tubal factor infertility. Furthermore, in developing countries infection from C. trachomatis can lead to blindness in infants due to trachoma.

Prokarium aims to be the first to develop an effective Chlamydia vaccine that could prevent PID and infertility and at the same time reduce antibiotic use and save on costs for national healthcare systems.

Plague

Yersinia pestis
Vaccine

Prokarium is currently working with the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) to develop a plague vaccine, based on its recombinant live attenuated Salmonella strains expressing two plasmid-encoded Yersinia pestis antigens. Plague is recognised by WHO as a re-emerging disease. From 2010 to 2015, over 3000 cases were reported worldwide, including 584 deaths. In 2015, 16 human cases of plague were reported in the US, resulting in 4 deaths and a large outbreak of the disease occurred in Madagascar in late 2017, with over 2000 cases confirmed, including 202 deaths (WHO Target Product Profile for PlagueVaccines, April 2018). In March 2018, a plague outbreak on Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo also resulted in multiple fatalities. The recrudescence of plague outbreaks together with the increasing concern of multiple antibiotic resistance Yersinia pestis strains, and its potential as an aerosol-delivered biological warfare agent, justify a renewed interest in the development of a plague vaccine.

Oncology

Undisclosed

We are currently exploring the application of Onconella in several solid tumour indications.

Global Impact

R&D at Prokarium and our collaborators are tackling problems with global impact