Vaccines have protected humankind from many deadly infections including smallpox, yellow fever, and tetanus, saving millions of lives. However, the rampage of the COVID-19 over the world serves as a painful reminder of the lack of effective vaccines against many other diseases. Novel technologies that can be readily deployed for new vaccines, especially against newly emerged pathogens, are urgently needed.
A significant roadblock in developing effective vaccines is the low immunogenicities of antigens for subunit vaccines. Carrier moieties are essential to conjugate with the subunit antigen, deliver the antigen to the immune cells, and to activate the immune system. However, there are only limited choices of carriers for clinical uses, which include CRM-197, tetanus toxoid, and keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH). With the increases in types of vaccines being developed clinically, more and more conjugate vaccines are sharing the same carrier, which can interfere with each other. Therefore, a powerful new carrier can be extremely valuable to expand the arsenal of vaccines.
Our company has developed a proprietary mutant bacteriophage Qβ (mQβ) platform technology. Head to head comparison studies of against those using the benchmark carriers have shown that our mQβ conjugates can elicit more powerful immune responses. This exciting technology is being applied to vaccines against a variety of diseases including cancer and microbial infections.