Adjuvant Bank Facility
Contact: Dr Anita Milicic, Adjuvant Core Facility Manager
Tel: +44 (0)1865 617623
What are adjuvants?
Adjuvants (from the Latin adiuvare, meaning “to help”) have been used to enhance the protective efficacy of vaccines for over 80 years.
Historically, many diverse compounds – from breadcrumbs to live tuberculosis bacteria - have been tried as vaccine adjuvants. More recently, the advances in our understanding of the innate immune system have given rise to new vaccine adjuvants, able to induce stronger as well as more targeted immune response to the vaccine antigen, opening the possibilities for developing vaccines against
more complex infectious diseases, such as malaria or HIV.
Identifying and accessing adjuvants
Over past decades, development of new potent adjuvants has been the prerogative of major pharmaceutical companies, with very
limited access for public sector research. The Jenner Adjuvant Bank was established through a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award, with the strategic aim of accessing a large range of promising adjuvants and building an in-house capacity for adjuvant application, optimisation and evaluation.
The Bank currently holds over 40 adjuvants from various commercial and academic sources, and continues to search for new compounds. A particular focus is placed on proprietary pilot research adjuvants, which are often supplied in small quantities for an initial assessment and can require a negotiation of complex material transfer agreements with the source institution. In addition, academic collaborations for the synthesis of potential new adjuvants have been established with several University Departments in the UK. To increase our holdings, we are regularly reviewing and identifying novel compounds that might be of interest.
Experimental evaluation of adjuvant efficacy
Comparative studies of the acquired adjuvants in increasing the immunogenicity of a protein vaccine using Ovalbumin (OVA) protein in a triple vaccination regime have now been completed, yielding highly informative results. The capacities of different adjuvants to induce either antibody or T cell reponses, or both, have been assessed at different time-points following vaccination. Evaluation of vaccination regimes using an adenoviral vector expressing OVA for priming and OVA protein formulated in adjuvant as a boosting vaccine are also in progress. Immunogenicity of a number of liposomal formulations of OVA, with or without selected TLR agonists, has also been assessed in mice in vivo. Candidate vaccines against blood-stage and liver-stage malaria which showed good results in our previous pre-clinical work are also being tested in formulation with different adjuvants, aiming to further increase their immunogenicity through various immunisation regimes. Some of the results from this work have been submitted to ISIS Inovation at Oxford for a potential patent filing.
We are also currently selecting adjuvants which have demonstrated potent immunogenicity for evaluation with a veterinary candidate vaccine against Foot and Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV) and putting in place necessary material transfer agreements. The adjuvanted candidate vaccine will be tested with several adjuvants in a challenge trial against FMDV in cattle, to be carried out in collaboration with IAH, Pirbright and the Indian Immunologicals Ltd. in Hyderabad, India (scheduled for May 2010).
We welcome opportunities for collaboration or business partnership; enquiries can be directed to Dr. Anita Milicic: firstname.lastname@example.org.