Synthetic Vaccines

Period of Performance: 08/15/1989 - 02/13/1993


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Medimmune, Inc.
19 Firstfield Rd
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Principal Investigator


Use of synthetic peptides, comprising both B and T cell determinants, is being considered a viable approach to vaccine development. Our Phase I work initiated investigations of this strategy employing Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) as the study model. Results indicated potent antibody responses to important B cell antigenic determinants of RVFV could be elicited with synthetic peptides. Also, sequences from RVFV glycoprotein G2 were identified as putative T helper (Th) cell determinants. This Phase II work proposes to build on the foundation of these Phase I results and exploit them for the development of an efficacious synthetic peptide vaccine for RVF. Toward this end, several areas will pursued. The form and presentation of synthetic peptides, including means for combining multiple peptide epitopes in a single immunogen preparation, will be investigate and correlated with ability to induce specific, biologically relevant antibody responses in mice. The activity of the putative RVFV glycoprotein Th epitopes will be identified. Finally, an antibody-directed strategy for peptide vaccine design and development involving peptide structure determinations, in vitro antigenicity, and in vivo specific immunogenicity, will be established. The technologies developed through the conduct of this work will significantly advance development of synthetic vaccines for other disease agents for which epitope-specific immunity is protective.