Abera’s main vaccine candidate – Ab-01.12, is a universal pneumococcal vaccine with intranasal administration and has shown to give both protection against pneumococcal colonization and pneumococcal disease. The candidate is based on conserved protein antigens rather than serotype-specific glycoconjugates. Hence, Ab-01.12 induces broad, serotype-independent protection. Ab-01 is in late pre-clinical phase and is planned to enter clinical trials during 2022.
Infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) are a major cause of morbidity and mortality all over the world, especially for children under 5 years of age. It is estimated that 1.5 to 2 million people die of pneumococcal disease every year. According to WHO, over 14.5 million cases of severe pneumococcal disease occur in children under 5 years and cause over 800,000 deaths each year.
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, a bacterium with more than 95 known serotypes.
Today, 144 countries have pneumococcal vaccines in their children vaccination programs, most using the market leading vaccine protecting against 13 serotypes. During 2019, the revenue from this vaccine was over 6,000 mUSD.
Both current vaccines on the market only cover a few of the known serotypes. When developed, the serotypes covered in these vaccines caused most of severe disease cases. But over the years serotype replacement occurs, which means that with partial protection against certain serotypes, other serotypes become more prevalent and cause infection despite vaccination. Increasing problems with antibiotic resistance when treating pneumococcal disease also increase the need for a new generation of pneumococcal vaccines with a broader scope of protection.
Current vaccines on the market are based on serotype-specific polysaccharides. Abera on the other hand use novel and highly conserved surface protein antigens, which are present among all serotypes enabling us to design a universal pneumococcal vaccine.
The current pneumococcal vaccines are expensive to produce due to their complex manufacturing process. Most cases of children deaths caused by pneumococcal disease occur in developing countries highlighting the need for vaccines that are cost-effective to produce and simple to administer – features that Abera’s vaccine candidate and platform meets.
Cancer is a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body. It is the second most common cause for deaths in the world. Last year, over 10 million people died due to cancer and this number is expected to increase to 24 million by 2035.
Immunotherapies and therapeutic vaccines aim to combat existing disease and to trigger and use the body’s own immune system against the cancer cells.
Abera’s technology platform has numerous and diverse opportunities in the field of immune oncology of which a handful of leads are being investigated together with partners. Selection of candidates is expected during 2021.
Collaborative projects for new vaccine strategies
Abera’s vaccine delivery platform works as a plug-and-play system where known or novel antigens can be engineered onto our delivery platform to create effective, multivalent vaccines that are cost-effective and fast to produce.
We actively work together with academia and industry to enable the use of our vaccine delivery platform in design and development of new vaccines. Many of these projects are carried out in collaborations and are supported by grants from governments, EU and non-profit health organizations.
We develop vaccine candidates through these kind of collaborations towards Chlamydia, Covid-19 and ETEC and are actively seeking broader collaboration partners to advance these efforts or novel ideas.