A Danish-German consortium is researching the development of a vaccine to protect against urinary tract infections. The SVEET (Sugar-modified Vaccine Epitopes; Exploration and Translation) project is funded by the German DLR and the Danish Innovation Fund with 702 euros as part of the eurostars® program.
There is an urgent and worldwide need to develop efficient bacterial vaccines. A urinary tract infection, for example, can be fatal for hospitalized patients. In the German-Danish project consortium, the institutions involved are bringing together their different expertise to develop and test a glycosylated bacterial vaccine protein. This vaccine protein will then be optimized in terms of immunogenicity and selectivity. "This will be the first vaccine developed in this way," explains project leader and GlyProVac managing director Anders Boysen.
In collaboration with Odense University Hospital, Denmark, GlyProVac will develop a vaccine protein with optimized O-linked protein glycosylation. Such proteins are particularly immunogenic and GlyProVac specializes in the discovery and validation of this new class of antigens. For the SVEET project, GlyProVac is further developing its vaccine antigen GPV02, which is based on e. coli bacterial strains. These not only cause simple urinary tract infections, but also serious and often fatal infections in risk groups of patients. The optimized vaccine protein will then be tested on large animal models of complex urinary tract infections. The animal models are being developed by Odense University Hospital as part of the project.
To optimize the vaccine, the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI and epitopic will identify and further develop the epitopes relevant for efficient vaccination. Under the direction of Dr. Nicolas Delaroque, the project team of the Fraunhofer IZI working group on ligand development is also developing immunoanalytical methods for the vaccination studies, which are then carried out at Odense University Hospital. Using antibodies directed against glycosylation, software is being developed that calculates in silico peptide mimotopes from next-generation sequencing data from phage display experiments. This will open new avenues for drug and vaccine development.
Launched in April 2021, the SVEET project will be implemented over a period of three years. The project is based on many years of cooperation between the project partners involved. With the joint research and development work, they can further develop their specific technologies and thus further expand their ability in vaccine development.
About the project partners
The epitopic GmbH uses proprietary methods for fast and precise epitope fingerprinting of antibodies. Epitopic is a spin-off from a ZIM project between Fraunhofer IZI and Polyquant GmbH and today offers customers worldwide unrivaled epitope mapping services.
GlyProVac LLC was founded in 2018 by CEO Anders Boysen and CBDO Ann Zahle Andersen in Odense, Denmark. GlyProVac is a biotech spin-off from the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). GlyProVac's proprietary BEMAP platform technology enables the identification and production of bacterial O-linked glycosylated proteins. O-linked glycosylated proteins are particularly immunogenic and GlyProVac specializes in the discovery and validation of this new class of antigens.
The Odense University Hospital Working Group on Clinical Biofilms in the Department of Clinical Microbiology uses innovative in vitro infection models designed to reproduce the key steps of pathogenesis. To support in vitro research, the group has several animal models of infectious diseases that have been developed in collaboration with local hospital departments. The combined experimental platform enables detailed studies of infection pathogenesis and serves as a testing platform for the development of novel antimicrobials, vaccines and biocompatible device materials.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI researches and develops special problem solutions at the interfaces of medicine, life sciences and engineering. One of the main tasks is contract research for biotechnological, pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, clinics, diagnostic laboratories and research institutions.
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