Shares in Frontier IP Group Plc (LON:FIPP) jumped in late-morning after saying its portfolio company, The Vaccine Group (TVG), will partner up with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the US Department of Defense, for a project to protect US military forces from Ebola.
The three-and-a-half-year project, which has been awarded up to US$9.67mln (£7.4mln) in funding, is aiming to predict where outbreaks of Ebola, and other diseases that can jump from animals to humans, will occur and prevent them from spilling over to people in the area.
TVG’s role in the project will involve developing technology that allows wildlife populations in hard-to-reach areas to be vaccinated against the relevant diseases, with an initial focus on Ebola in non-human primates such as gorillas and Lassa Fever carried by infected rats.
The impact of Ebola, a potentially fatal viral infection that causes bleeding from the eyes among other symptoms, captured international attention in recent years after an outbreak across West Africa in 2014 caused around 11,000 deaths before it was declared over two years later.
An outbreak of Lassa Fever, which causes similar symptoms to Ebola, occurred in Nigeria last year killing around 134 people.
Frontier, which specialises in commercialising intellectual property and owns a 19.2% stake in TVG, said that while the project was aimed at US military service members and the communities they operate in, it reflected “a growing concern” among global health agencies around potential pandemics arising from domestic and wild animals.
Neil Crabb, chief executive of Frontier, said TVG’s technology had “such an important part in a project that could result in a breakthrough in how potential pandemics are prevented”.
Shares were up 3.5% at 88.5p.
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