Small Business Innovation Research Program Provides Seed Funding for R&D
East Lansing, MI, 07/15/2021 – Iaso Therapeutics, INC. has been awarded a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $600,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on the Development of proprietary bacteriophage Qbeta as a vaccine carrier platform for anti-salmonella vaccine.
Vaccines have had tremendous benefits to our society, saving millions of lives. Immunogenic carriers are critical to boosting the immune responses to conjugate vaccines. In this project, a genetically engineered bacteriophage Qβ will be established as a new vaccine carrier, the power of which will be demonstrated in the development of an effective new anti-Salmonella vaccine.
Vaccines have saved millions of lives. However, there are many diseases against which vaccines are not yet available, with the current COVID-19 pandemic in the world serving as a painful reminder of the need for vaccines against emerging diseases. With the growing emphasis on vaccine safety, next-generation vaccine designs have been increasingly focusing on subunit antigens. Because subunit epitopes tend to have lower immunogenicity, immunogenic carriers are critical to deliver the desired antigen to the immune system and to enhance the immune responses. However, there are very few carriers available that have been validated in clinical studies. In this SBIR phase I project, Iaso Therapeutics, Inc. will focus on the development of a proprietary bacteriophage mutant Qβ (mQβ) virus-like particle as a platform technology for conjugate vaccines. In aim 1, robust protocols will be established for expression, purification, and long-term storage of mQβ. In addition, head-to-head comparison will be performed to demonstrate that mQβ can elicit higher levels of antibodies as compared to current benchmark carriers. In aim 2, the powerful mQβ platform will be applied to deliver Salmonella associated glycans as potential vaccines against multiple strains of common pathogenic Salmonella. The vaccine will be optimized to enhance protection from Salmonella infection. When successfully developed, this project will establish mQβ as an attractive immunogenic carrier for vaccine development and provide important pre-clinical data for anti-Salmonella vaccines.
“Current techniques for the development of vaccines targeting Salmonella have met with limited success due to the lack of immunogenicity of the antigen subunits.” said Prof. Xuefei Huang, PhD, Iaso’s Founder. “We are excited to have the opportunity to develop our mQβ based vaccine for the prevention of Salmonella infections.”
Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $600,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $2,000,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.