Immunor’s vaccine platforms are combining selection and design of antigens fit for immune stimulation combined with adjuvant strategies that allow for the broad and general approach to vaccine development.
Traditional vaccines have been using whole dead bacteria, viruses or sub-units as target vaccine antigens. These approaches have over the years been improved, and most technologies are using some forms of a viral vector as a combination of adjuvant and delivery of vehicle for one or more specific protein sequences derived from the target. Naturally occurring proteins or even shorter fragments of proteins leave the immune system to choose what are the best objectives. As a result, in the vast majority of cases, the most immunodominant domains will be picked out instead of the specific preselected targets domains where the target bacteria or virus are most vulnerable.
Differently, for the last two decades, Immunor has focused on developing technologies that can identify and design peptide domains which can guide the immune system directly to the vital vaccine antigen targets. By using such preselected targets, the immune system can induce specific responses for either prevention or treatment.
In particular, for such challenging vaccines like Mycobacteria, HIV, HCV, Herpes, Enterovirus or multi-seasons Flu vaccine, the vulnerable spots will typically be short amino acid sequences, which also are likely to be less immunogenic. In order to circumvent such challenges, Immunor has applied its know-how and peptide technologies to modify, to make these vaccine antigen targets visible and immunogenic for the immune system. These technologies also include selecting, modeling, and designing of vaccine antigens that can elicit immune responses to human ligands.
Peptide-based vaccine – The Immunor approach for vaccine development
Immunor’s vaccine approach is to engage both arms of the immune system in seeking out and hitting one or more of the selected target(s) on a bacterium or a virus, where it is assumed to be most vulnerable, or even tag/block a (human) cell ligand. This complicated process involves a number of technologies that e.g.:
- For HIV in particular, researchers have discovered several conserved regions on several viral proteins. Today, we know that some of these forms such as vulnerable spots, which are the targets for the vaccines Bionor Holding are developing.
- A combination of modified peptides (small protein fragments) and an appropriate adjuvant drives specific responses either towards antibody-responses (including Th2), or T-cell / Cell-mediated responses supported by Th1.
- Peptide-based vaccine antigens are, to a certain degree, able to meet demanding specifications, developed from detailed target analyses and antigen characteristic. Part of those specs is the design of the antigens in such a way that they can circumvent the natural “hiding mechanisms” and allow for exposure of the vulnerable targets.
- Allowing for construction, adaption, and synthesis of antigens in such a way that even small peptides can become visible and immunogenic.
Given these points, the vaccines which have turned out to be challenging to develop would benefit from a peptide-based vaccine approach. This approach will allow for tailor-made directing and boosting the immune system towards one or more of the specially selected vaccine antigens in a robust and cost-effective way.