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Thu 19 Mar 2020 02:10 PM

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UAE entrepreneur invests $5m in search for Covid-19 vaccine

Khurram Shroff has announced that he has joined Vaxbio, a biotechnology company based in England, as its strategic advisor

UAE entrepreneur invests $5m in search for Covid-19 vaccine

UAE-based entrepreneur Khurram Shroff.

UAE-based entrepreneur Khurram Shroff has announced that he has joined Vaxbio, a biotechnology company based in England, as its strategic advisor as the company seeks a vaccine for the new coronavirus.

He said he has pledged $5 million and will advise Vaxbio, a research and development company that produces affordable vaccines, clones and innovative biologicals, on developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining its corporate initiatives.

Vaxbio’s services extend to research on live viral vaccines. Early access to coronavirus data has helped their experts to sequence and successfully design a vaccine methodology that is expected to help arrest and reverse the spread of the contagion across the globe.

The vaccine is already in the process of being tested on animals, to assess its effectiveness and to detect any side-effects that may require to be monitored.

Shroff said Vaxbio plans to move to clinical 1 and clinical 2 trials as soon as possible, so that the vaccine is developed and in production by summer.

Dr Gaurav Gupta, one of the directors of Vaxbio and senior researcher in the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, has played an active role in the research and development of the vaccine.

“Dr Gupta’s research at the University of Oxford gave him early access to the sequencing of the corona virus,” Shroff said. “They have devised a formulation that will be affordable. It will cost up to 50 US cents per dose, which will allow for the production of the vaccine in batches of 20 million.

"This will enable us to provide assistance to several countries, at a national scale, within a week. We should be ready with the vaccine in the summer, especially if we get fast-tracked by the British Patent Office, and are adequately supported by resources."

Shroff has also recently backed the Medical Resource Acquisition Group, an investment firm focused on disruptive medical technologies, to bring dialysis solutions to the Middle East, China and India.

Shroff is the chairman of the IBC Group Limited, a Dubai-based investment firm and the general partner of Gallery Suites Vacation Rental which has assets under management of $3 billion.

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