The SapVax technology is a platform for generating peptide-based, self-adjuvanting cancer vaccines developed by our scientific founders, Dame Margaret Brimble, CNZM, FRSNZ, PhD, and Rod Dunbar, MBChB, PhD, at the University of Auckland, NZ. The platform is based on a flexible synthetic method for covalently linking tumor antigens with an adjuvant, which enables the generation of vaccines targeting virtually any peptide tumor antigen. Please see our publications to learn about our founding science.

Dame Margaret Brimble, CNZM, FRSNZ, PhD


Distinguished Professor & Director, Medicinal Chemistry
The University of Auckland

Dame Margaret Brimble, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor and Director of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is a Principal Investigator in the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery and a member of the management committee. She is President of IUPAC Organic and Biomolecular Division III, an Associate Editor for Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry (RSC), a member of the International Advisory Boards for the Journal of Organic Chemistry (ACS), MedChemComm (RSC) and Natural Product Reports (RSC) and a member of the European Research Council panel for Synthesis and Materials Science. She has published over 420 papers, 60 reviews and is an inventor on 30 patents.

Margaret is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2016 Marsden medal from the NZ Association of Scientists for a lifetime achievement in science and the RSNZ Rutherford medal (NZ’s top science medal) in 2012. She has been conferred two Queen’s honours (MNZM 2004 and CNZM 2012) for her service to science. In 2018, she was elected Fellow of The Royal Society, London, and made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to science. Most recently, Margret was awarded the George and Christine Sosnovskaward 2018 Award in Cancer, for developing innovative chemistry to generate fully-synthetic, self-adjuvanting cancer vaccines for the treatment of different cancers. Her team’s innovative chemistry lipidation technology provides the platform for SapVax’s self-adjuvanting peptide vaccine patent portfolio.


Rod Dunbar, MBChB, PhD


Director, The Maurice Wilkins Centre
The University of Auckland

Professor Rod Dunbar holds both a medical degree (MBChB) and a PhD from the University of Otago in New Zealand.  He spent 6 years as a post-doctoral research fellow in human immunology at the University of Oxford, before returning to New Zealand in 2002 under a Wellcome Trust International Senior Research Fellowship.  His lab at the University of Auckland’s School of Biological Sciences focuses on human cellular immunology and therapeutic uses of primary human cells.  Since 2009 Professor Dunbar has also served as the Director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre, the National Centre of Research Excellence focused on the discovery of new human therapeutics and diagnostics.  He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2016.