OET awarded Innovate UK grant for Covid-19 vaccine development

Government funding announced for Oxford biotech company to work with leading Australian vaccine company on the development of a new and innovative Covid 19 vaccine.   A grant from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, has been made to support a partnership between Vaxine Pty Ltd  ( who developed the world’s first swine flu vaccine in 2009, and Oxford Expression Technologies ( This Innovate UK grant endorses the

Why the Insect Cell System is a Boost for Vaccine Development

In an article published by New Scientist this week as part of the Value of Vaccines campaign, Prof. Linda King, founder of Oxford Expression Technologies explains why the insect cell system has become a popular platform for vaccine development – particularly in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. FULL ARTICLE

SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 Virus) Research

OET is currently helping COVID-19 research efforts by producing the recombinant spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 for clients. The protein will be used for further research, diagnostics and potential vaccine production. OET is also engaged in in-house COVID-19 research and is working on an insect cell-based vaccine using our flashBAC system enabled through funding from Innovate UK/Department of Health through the Vaccines for Global Epidemics:development and manufacture initiative. OET has recently received further

PhD Studentship

3.5 year, full-time PhD studentship Project title: Baculovirus P10 and microtubules; the role of P10 in virus-induced nuclear lysis with possible applications for novel anti-cancer therapies Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in the UK/EU Closing date: 20 March 2020 Start date: September 2020 Bursary p.a.: equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2019/20 rate is £15,009) University fees and bench fees at the Home/EU rate

Introduction to the Baculovirus Expression System

Baculoviruses are in many respects an odd choice for use as an expression system to make recombinant proteins.  In their natural environment they infect insect larvae/caterpillars, which frequently results in the death of the host and its reduction to a puddle of progeny virus (Fig. 1).  They are also unusual in that they produce two structurally different forms in their life cycle. The first is a lipoprotein-enveloped particle that buds

baculoQUANT™ ALL-IN-ONE Titration of Recombinant Baculoviruses

There are many methods available for the titration of recombinant baculoviruses.  One of the most convenient is the use of the quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), which assesses how much virus DNA is present in a freshly-amplified stock.  This is compared with a standard curve derived from a control virus stock to give an infectious titre expressed as Q plaque forming units (pfu) per millilitre.  OET Ltd market the baculoQUANT™

Plaque-Assay Schematic

We’ve said it enough times; the plaque-assay is the ‘gold standard’ for determining virus infectivity. But this doesn’t make the procedure any easier! Whether it’s the agonising 5 day waiting period or the disorientating number of steps, plaque-assays can seem like a chore and we’ve heard of more than enough non-virologists admit to skipping this laborious technique in favour of a simpler solution. More often than not this isn’t a

Baculovirus Transfer Vector Plasmid Compatibility

A frequent customer query concerns baculovirus transfer vector plasmid compatibility with either flashBACTM or other systems for making recombinant viruses.  Obviously, if you are buying flashBACTM and our pOET range of transfer vectors you won’t have a problem.  However, given that baculovirus expression vectors have been around since 1983 and many labs have produced variations around a theme, it is not surprising that confusion can arise. Most baculovirus expression vectors

Pre-GMP Manufacture of Recombinant Proteins

While OET is currently unable to offer GMP manufacture of recombinant proteins or viruses, we can offer a premium service for pre-GMP manufacture.  This can serve as a very useful bridge to full GMP projects conducted by other service providers.  So what is the advantage of a pre-GMP step? It really boils down to cost.  Some of our own R&D is moving in the direction of needing GMP but we

Co-infection with Baculovirus Vectors for Multiple Protein Expression

A question that comes up from time to time is the use of co-infection with baculovirus vectors for multiple protein expression in insect cells.  The need arises if you have produced a number of baculovirus vectors that each synthesise a component of a multi-subunit complex, such as an enzyme or a virus like particle.  Intuitively, you know that it is probably necessary to add many virus particles per cell to

Sequence Errors in Your Gene for Expression? (Parts I + II)

If you don’t achieve the levels of protein expression expected in your project, have you ever considered that there may be sequence errors in your gene?  This applies to all expression systems, not just those based on baculoviruses.  We should be clear that we are not talking about sequence errors in your gene after it has been synthesized by an out sourcing company.  Quality control by such companies is such

Quick Guide to Plaque Assays

Last week we ran a short training course on baculovirus expression vectors.  As part of this we put together a one page guide for carrying out plaque assays.  This might be useful to those of you looking for something you can have on the lab bench while conducting your own plaque assays.  We have added a image of one of our 12-well plate-based plaque assays below as an example.  The

Transduction of Whole Porcine Kidneys with BacMAMs

One of the unexpected offshoots of the baculovirus expression system has been its development as a vehicle for the delivery of genes to mammalian cells.  These vectors are otherwise known as BacMams.  Although baculoviruses are unable to replicate in mammalian cells, they can enter them via receptor-mediated endocytosis.  In Frederick Boyce’s original paper the Rous sarcoma virus promoter was used to express beta-galactosidase in the HepG2 human liver cell line. 

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