Towards a vaccine for chronic infectious agents
Prof. Dr. Markus Gerhard
Institute for Medical Microbiology, Technical University of Munich | ImevaX GmbH
Recipient: Technical University of Munich
Funding: GO-Bio Phase I (01.08.2011 - 31.08.2014, 3.905.915 Euro)
Recipient: ImevaX GmbH
Funding: GO-Bio Phase II (01.09.2014 - 30.06.2018, 9.918.348 Euro)
Pathogens of infectious diseases have developed sophisticated strategies for overriding the body’s defences. For example, some germs are able to deploy specific factors to targetedly subdue the immune system of the host. Vaccines that inhibit this mechanism and thereby reactivate the immune system could boost the effectiveness of measures to prevent or treat such infections.
In a first GO-Bio funding period, the team led by Markus Gerhard successfully developed a vaccine of this kind for use against Helicobacter pylori. These bacteria are carried by around half of all people, and in millions of cases are the cause of stomach ulcers or even stomach cancer. Here, the vaccine candidate IMX101 helps to supress the pathogen’s mechanism for moderating the immune system, and helps the body’s defences to launch an effective immune response. Thereby, the principle is not limited to Helicobacter. As part of the ‘Imevax’ project, Markus Gerhard and his team have already identified further immunomodulating factors in other germs. This work involved the development of an own screening platform.
In the first phase of Go-Bio, the Munich-based researchers made important progress in their vaccine against Helicobacter, including a demonstration of the efficacy of the IMX101 vaccine in the mouse model and the establishment of the manufacturing process for the vaccine components. The second GO-Bio phase will encompass the completion of preclinical development and the development of the vaccine up to clinical trial phase I. The Imevax team is also planning to use their technology with the feared hospital bug Staphylococcus aureus.