Ab01 Pneumococcal disease
Pneumococcal disease exists in different forms and can create severe symptoms such as sepsis, meningitis, and bacterial pneumonia. Less severe symptoms include middle ear infections, sinusitis, and bronchitis. The causative agent of Pneumococcal disease is Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae), which is a Gram-positive bacterium with more than 90 known serotypes.
Current vaccines only cover a few of these serotypes. This makes current vaccines less effective on a global scale, because serotype prevalence of S. pneumoniae varies in different geographical regions. In addition, serotype replacement occurs, which means that with partial protection against certain serotypes, other serotypes become more prevalent and can cause infection despite vaccination. The current pneumococcal vaccines are also very expensive due to the complex manufacturing process.
Abera’s pneumococcal vaccine will address these issues through the development of an affordable vaccine, as Abera’s platform enables the production of large quantities of the vaccine at low-cost, and by using novel and highly conserved protein antigens. These antigens are surface proteins, which are present among a high number of serotypes. Using our platform technology, it is our aim to develop a multivalent vaccine that offers broad protection against S. pneumonia infections. In addition, the product will be administered via the respiratory mucosa (intranasally or orally inhaled), which has numerous advantages over conventional intramuscular injection (see Technology page).
Animal studies have indicated that Abera’s candidate provides protection.
Tuberculosis (TB) ranks as the second leading cause of death due to a single infectious agent worldwide. It is caused by the exceptionally smart Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) that can evade the immune system and establish a latent infection that may be reactivated decades after primary infection. The current spread of recently identified multi-drug resistant M. tuberculosis strains poses a serious threat to global health.
The only vaccine available against TB is the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG), which has been used to protect children against severe forms of TB since 1921. The low effectiveness of the vaccine against adult pulmonary TB, which is the most common TB form, contributes to the pressing demand for a new vaccine. In addition, the BCG vaccine is not safe to use for immunocompromised individuals. This is a major issue since about half of the TB patients globally also suffer from infection with HIV.
Abera is meeting these needs by developing a multivalent vaccine with the aim of preventing primary infections as well as the reactivation of the disease in latent infected individuals.
Investigation of Abera’s OMV-based TB vaccine candidate within the large and prestigious European research consortium ADITEC yielded promising results demonstrating good immunogenicity and protection against challenge with M. tuberculosis in a mouse model.
Chlamydia, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases with more than 100 million cases per year. The infection spreads easily as it typically produces no symptoms initially. Importantly, an untreated chlamydia infection can lead to infertility or blindness.
Chlamydia is currently treated with antibiotics, as there are no vaccines available. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that a safe vaccine that can be administered before adolescence and provides an effective protection is required to control the spread of the disease.
Abera aims to produce an OMV-based Chlamydia vaccine candidate. Using our propriety display platform OMVs were decorated with conserved chlamydial antigens at an unprecedented density. More antigens usually signify a better immune response and therefore better protection against the disease.
Animal studies investigating the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of our vaccine candidate have been initiated.
Ab04 Cancer (therapeutic vaccine)
Cancer is a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body. In 2012, there were 14.1 million people newly diagnosed with cancer worldwide, and this number is expected to increase to 24 million by 2035.
Therapeutic vaccines are meant to combat existing diseases, rather than to induce long-term protection against future infection. Curing cancer is one of the exciting promises of therapeutic vaccines. More than a dozen therapeutic vaccine candidates against a variety of malignancies are currently in late-phase clinical studies, underscoring the potential of this innovative approach.