Liposome-based Vaccine Adjuvant System for HIV

Period of Performance: 08/15/1998 - 08/31/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Molecular Express, Inc.
Principal Investigator


The principal objective of this research plan is to demonstrate the effectiveness of a unique antigen delivery system as a vaccine/adjuvant to stimulate an immune response to HIV epitopes. The vaccine/adjuvant to be tested consists of an antigenic fusion protein formulated in an immunogenic liposome. The principal objectives of this project are to: construct the liposomal HIV epitope vaccine; verify the immunogenicity of the vaccine design for both systemic and mucosal immunization. If successful, this novel vaccine/adjuvant technology should allow: (l) the commercial production of large quantities of purified immunogen using standard protein isolation techniques; (2) maximum flexibility for the insertion of single or multiple epitopes within a standard gene cassette for the rapid development of new vaccines; (3) easy incorporation of the antigen protein into immunogenic liposomes, resulting in a commercially viable process for large-scale vaccine production and; (4) elimination of adverse side effects associated with the use of killed or modified live bacterial or viral vaccines. If successful, this vaccine/adjuvant system could have widespread implications for the treatment of all sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, the etiologic agent of AIDS. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: The potential commercial advantages of this vaccine and for any other vaccines developed using this approach include: a high margin of safety because the vaccine is non-pathogenic with minimal toxicity; relatively straightforward manufacturing procedures which make the process less costly; an-d efficacy comparable to virus-based vaccines. The proposed technology is also flexible; new vaccines can be made quickly and easily by simply "cutting and pasting" new antigen sequences at the proper sites in the expression vector. Given the ability to rapidly design and engineer new vaccines, the potential commercial applications for this technology range from pathogenic diseases to cancers.