Oct 11, 2022
Joe Hernandez is the Chairman and CEO of Blue Water Vaccines, a spinoff deploying technology from Oxford University. The original focus was on creating a universal flu vaccine that, with one shot, would provide immunity for all the known variations of influenza throughout an individual's lifetime. While continuing vaccine development with partners such as St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Blue Water has expanded its portfolio by identifying transformative vaccines in academic and research labs that can be preventative and prevent long-term diseases.
Joe elaborates, "Where we come in as corporate entities is that we take those technologies and really move them to the next level of development. We find out how we can manufacture them in a way that allows us to create enough material for broad distribution. We design clinical trials, we execute clinical trials, and we deal with the regulatory agencies to get the product approved. Then ultimately, we commercialize with commercial partners. That's kind of the modality that we use here at Blue Water."
"The technology that we in-licensed from the U.K. from Oxford was really derived from a mathematical model that was invented by a scientist there named Sunetra Gupta. Sunetra is by training a mathematician, although she focuses on epidemiological trends in different infectious agents, including malaria and COVID, and a number of other infective agents. But what she discovered, what she stumbled upon as it related to influenza, was that, in fact, influenza was not as diverse as we gave it credit for."
"What we noticed is that the virus, while elusive, really only has a limited ability to hide from the immune system. It has what we call "jackets" or these external codes that the virus uses, but it tends to use it again after a number of iterations. For example, the virus that was present in 1918, the one that was present in 1934, and the current virus have used some of those original "jackets" in the exterior, so we're able to deduce what those are."
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