Immunopeptidomics-based Development of Next-Generation Bacterial mRNA Vaccines

01 July 2023 → 30 June 2028
European funding: framework programme
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Clinical trials
mRNA vaccines
Other information
Project description

BAXERNA 2.0 will establish a new vaccine development pipeline based on dramatically improved immunopeptidomics screening and
innovative mRNA vaccine formulation. We will use our powerful new pipeline to develop novel mRNA vaccines against three bacterial
pathogens that can persist within phagocytic cells: Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), Mycobacterium ulcerans (MU), and
Acinetobacter baumannii (AB). MTB and AB are clinically problematic bacteria with alarming levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR),
while MU is an important neglected tropical disease. Although vaccines are recognized as highly effective tools to mitigate AMR and
tropical diseases, effective vaccine development for these (facultative) intracellular bacteria is held back by a lack of known antigens,
and by current vaccine platforms struggling to elicit the required strong cellular immune responses. We will overcome both
limitations here through two key innovations: (i) novel proteomics and proteomics informatics approaches for immunopeptidomics
to allow highly sensitive discovery and prioritization of bacterial epitopes presented on infected cells; and (ii) novel mRNA vaccines to
induce both humoral and cellular immune responses, with innovative adjuvants to strengthen adaptive immunity, and to modulate
innate immunity. Vaccine production will be done according to GMP standards, and we will pursue novel, low-cost production
methods to enable local production and much-needed improved vaccine stability.
We will characterize innate and adaptive immune responses in detail in human cellular models and mouse infection models. In
addition, top vaccine candidates for MTB will be evaluated in unique primate models, followed by testing of the lead candidate in a
first-in-human Phase I clinical trial.
Together, we will establish our novel vaccine development pipeline as a blueprint for world-leading, next-generation bacterial
vaccine development.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the authority can be held responsible for them.