Technology used by AchilleS Vaccines
AchilleS Vaccines exploits integrated technological platforms to identify, select and develop future approaches to deliver effective vaccines and immuno-therapeutics.
ANTIBODIES FOR IMMUNOTHERAPY AND ANTIGEN IDENTIFICATION - NEXT GENERATION REVERSE VACCINOLOGY
Using blood from convalescent individuals, it is possible to isolate antigen-specific B-cells and produce neutralizing antibodies.
These antibodies can be used to:
- Develop immuno-therapeutics at industrial scale for the treatment and prophylaxis of infection.
- Identify immunogenic and protective antigens/epitopes to develop new vaccines.
In recognition of the seminal work performed by Dr Rappuoli, inventor in the year 2000 of first generation “Reverse Vaccinology”, we refer to this new approach as “Next Generation Reverse Vaccinology”.
LAB 4.0 IN SUPPORT OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
AchilleS Vaccines is at the forefront in the use of the industry 4.0 concept for research and product development. Through collaborations with leading informatics companies and the University of Siena, AchilleS Vaccines is optimizing a revolutionary laboratory, based on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, real-time data and robotics. This allows data acquisition, creation and exploitation based on Artificial Intelligence approaches.
This revolutionary approach allows educated predictions and precise decision making during the experimental phase (e.g. antigen selection, choice of expression systems), as well as optimised product development and production at the later stages.
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: POTENT NEUTRALIZING ANTIBODIES – mOMV AND “PLUG & PLAY” VACCINES
mOMV (modified Outer Membrane Vesicles) are the powerful, safe, highly immunogenic and versatile core vaccine platform used by AchilleS Vaccines. mOMV are shed by the bacteria following blebbing of the outer membrane and are able to deliver protective antigens to the immune system. mOMV belong to the class of “non-living vaccines” and stimulate both innate and acquired protective immunity against pathogens with no signs of infection. mOMV act both as carriers for antigens from infectious agents and as immune-stimulants able to induce qualitatively superior protective immune responses.
mOMV can be easily manipulated to increase their yield and to deliver antigens from multiple pathogens, therefore leading to multivalent vaccines with fast production, low costs, low manufacturing footprint, easy scalability, sustainability of supply, all critical advantages while responding to known and unknown disease threat situations.
mOMV can be used to develop vaccines against bacteria, viruses, protozoa, parasites and tumors. This platform is ideally suited to rapidly respond to emerging or re-emerging disease threats and to fight the increasingly grave issue of antimicrobial resistance.
Next generation reverse vaccinology and artificial intelligence
Based on the technology known as Reverse Vaccinology, invented by Dr. Rino Rappuoli in the 1990s, AchilleS Vaccines aims to develop a revolutionary approach to research and development of new vaccines and bio-molecules.
Experts in the field of immunology and vaccinology have been joined by scientists talented in the realms of data science, bioinformatics and artificial intelligence to create an integrated approach to rapid research and development known as Lab 4.0. This approach optimizes laboratory procedures, data collection and analysis and rapidly yields R&D outputs at reduced cost.
AchilleS Vaccines can benefit from the use of information contained in clinically relevant libraries of immortalized B memory cells originating from endemic countries. For example, thanks fundamental work of Prof. A. Lanzavecchia, who applied this advanced technology to the field of malaria research, AchilleS Vaccines can perform cutting-edge research on prevention and therapy of malarial diseases.
This technology allows the selection, isolation and production of potent neutralizing antibodies that can be used as immuno-therapeutic molecules and can also be further used to identify bioinformatically novel protective epitopes from a large number of pathogens, towards targeted and most effective vaccine design.
(modified Outer Membrane Vesicles)
During their growth, Gram-negative bacteria naturally release outer membrane vesicles (OMV). These are blebs that resemble the composition and orientation of the bacterial outer surface.
OMV contain phospholipids, lipopolysaccharide, outer membrane proteins, and entrapped soluble periplasmic components.
OMV have been shown to be safe and highly immunogenic as vaccines in animal and human models, as they are intrinsically capable of stimulating both innate and adaptive immunity.
mOMV are powerful, cost effective and versatile vaccine platforms inasmuch as they are easy to manufacture and can induce optimal protective responses. Furthermore, the level of membrane antigens can be genetically regulated and heterologous antigens from other pathogens can be incorporated in the vaccine and delivered to the immune system, thus providing a system to generate multivalent vaccine platforms.
AchilleS Vaccines Biotech Lab 4.0 represents a new model for early-stage development of new biopharmaceutical products and pre-clinical R&D.
This is achieved through “Quality by Design” (QbD) – an approach that aims to ensure the quality of products through statistical, analytical and risk-management methods in design, development and manufacturing as well as through the use computerized logical-mathematical tools (algorithms) which define research probabilistic models.
Biotech Lab 4.0 aims at:
- Reducing R&D costs through the QbD approach
- Speeding up laboratory research through exploitation of available data/information
- Generating and exploiting mathematical predictions for the selection of optimal research approaches/pathways.
Biotech Lab 4.0 is one of the six strategic projects in the field of Life Sciences funded by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. It is a collaborative project involving the Departments of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy of the University of Siena, Imola Informatica and Sis.Ter.