A biotech spun out of Oxford University is aiming to develop a universal flu vaccine — and phase 2 trials could be completed by the end of next year.
The company, Vaccitech, says the vaccine — unlike those now found on the market — does not target surface antibodies. Instead, it works from the center of the virus where there are few components which can change the virus strain.
"It should protect people against pandemic strains and that would be hugely valuable to have," Vaccitech co-founder Adrian Hill told CNBC on Friday.
The company's approach to the flu is different from what many vaccine manufacturers have adopted, Hill said, adding that he hopes any Vaccitech success will make pharmaceutical giants take an interest and get involved.
Vaccitech's strategy has not been tested to work against the flu before, but Hill said his company has started trials involving thousands of people.
The tests mark one of the first times that a universal flu vaccine has progressed beyond phase 1 clinical testing and Vaccitech aims to complete phase 2B testing by the end of next year, he said.