Updated on 17 October 2013
The company received investment of $12.5 million from Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund (MLSCF) and Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) in 2009, and Convertible bridge-loan of $6 million committed by MLSCF and MTDC in 2013 for advancing EV71 to Investigational New Drug (IND) and in-house CVA-16 preclinical work. Sentinext also received grant from BiotechCorp Malaysia Seed Fund and Gates Grand Challenges Explorations 6.
Dr Cardosa has won the confidence of investors through her commitment to develop a better vaccine for public health and developing them under stringent compliance. Sentinext is manufacturing the vaccines under EMA compliant European manufacturer utilizing single use bioreactors, Single Master Cell Bank, following GMP, used for recombinant baculoviruses expressing EV71, CVA16.
Highlighting the technical aspect of better quality of the vaccine over others, she says, "There is no manufacturing safety issues as the recombinant product are not infectious and does not pose safety concern to manufacturing personnel and community, unlike inactivated vaccine. Inactivation methodology has risk of being incomplete with residual live virus and does not interfere with detection of residual live virus. This is a substantial barrier to regulatory approval in sophisticated markets."
For developing HFMD vaccine, Sentinext has adopted "plug and play" molecular design allowing control over capsid amino acid sequence, and keeping up with changes in circulating strains. "Coding sequences are DNA not enterovirus RNA which is prone to mutation and generates a quasispecies population of virions. This allows Sentinext to change genotype composition of vaccine if evolutionary divergence takes place requiring a change in vaccine composition. It also provides the option of formulating the vaccine with more than one serotype, she explains.