Genetic vaccines: New platform technology for improved efficacy
Dr. Florian Kreppel
Department of Gene Therapy, University of Ulm
Recipient: Department of Gene Therapy, University of Ulm
Funding: GO-Bio Phase I (01.04.2010 - 28.02.2015, 1.532.004 Euro)
This new approach for the containment of serious diseases such as AIDS, malaria and hepatitis C is based on preventive treatment through genetic vaccination. Thereby, the immune system is administered with parts of the virus genome instead of an attenuated virus, and thus learns how to combat the virus more effectively. The vaccination approach, which is still in the research stages, involves the use of specific gene vectors to transport the genetic material into the body. One remaining hurdle is the imprecise targeting of immune cells by the vaccine candidate, which can impact the effectiveness of the immune response. This is the starting point of the DENOVO technology developed by Florian Kreppel and his team.
DENOVO (‘Development of a novel genetic vaccine platform’) is a platform technology that can be used to specifically improve the transport vehicles used in genetic vaccines for carrying the genetic material of pathogens. The researchers hope to supply these micro-shuttles with a special chemical surface structure that enables them to be recognised as foreign and to come under attack by specific immune cells, including macrophages. Important components of the technology, which can be applied for a variety of gene vector models, have already been patented and have demonstrated feasibility in animal models. Within the scope of GO-Bio, the researchers are hoping to further develop the technology up to market readiness and to found a company. Alongside the licensing of the technology platform, the long-term business model includes the preclinical development of in-house product candidates.