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Company Formed to Develop Spore-Based Next-Generation Vaccines

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 06 Nov 2012
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Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London (London, UK), have developed a pioneering method of vaccination that served as the basis for receiving private seed investment used to form the new company, Holloway Immunology, to further develop the vaccine technology. The company is currently seeking additional investors to help fast track implementation of this new form of vaccine delivery.

Prof. Simon Cutting led the development using probiotic spores. He and his laboratory had been carrying out fundamental biology studies of Bacillus subtilis, which forms spores that can last millions of years before germinating under appropriate conditions. They later found that Bacillus spores can also act as effective vehicles to carry antigens and promote an immune response. "Rather than requiring needle delivery, vaccines based on Bacillus spores can be delivered via a nasal spray, or as an oral liquid or capsule. Alternatively, they can be administered via a small soluble film placed under the tongue [...]. As spores are exceptionally stable, vaccines based on Bacillus do not require cold-chain storage, alleviating a further issue with current vaccine approaches," explained Prof. Cutting. Besides eliminating pain associated with needles, oral vaccines are also safer to administer (especially in developing countries), inexpensive to produce, easier to store, and reduce concerns of adverse reactions.

Prof. Cutting and his team have carried out preclinical evaluation of Bacillus-based vaccines for a number of diseases including tuberculosis (TB), influenza, and tetanus. A Bacillus-based vaccine could boost the immunity provided by, or possibly even replace, existing vaccines against these diseases. They have also begun investigating the potential use of this technology against Clostridium difficile. “There is no vaccine against the disease, and although several approaches are currently undergoing clinical trials, none are expected to provide full protection," said Prof. Cutting. Also, unlike other current approaches, oral delivery can cause a more specific immune response in the gastrointestinal tract to more effectively eliminate C.difficile.

Holloway Immunology will initially concentrate development of the Bacillus spore based technology for three lead vaccines: against TB, influenza, and C. difficile.

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Royal Holloway, University of London

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