A new vaccine technology that utilizes peptide-nucleic acid complexes that are dramatically more immunogenic than the separate components. Small synthetic peptides from the known sequences of viral, bacterial, parasitic, or tumor antigens are modified so they can spontaneously form complexes with a synthetic nucleic acid (Poly-IC) that is an immunological adjuvant. For synthetic peptides that do not bind well to Poly-IC, covalent binding of the peptides to polylysine (poly-K) results in a general method to create peptidepoly IC complexes that are highly immunogenic.
- New vaccine technology would work with vaccines where T cells are important, such as viruses, AIDS, Cancer, Malaria, Leishmania, Hepatitis B or C, Influenza, and SARS.
- The unmet need is to make synthetic vaccines more like “live” vaccines. For comparison, with the flu or EBV, people get 30-50% of all T cells specific for the viral challenge, but synthetic vaccines only result in 1-2% of all T cells specific for the epitope being used.
- In a murine system, these modified synthetic peptides generate responses as high as 30-50% of all CD-8 T cells specific for the epitope being used.
- The vaccine market is a multi-billion dollar market with 2009 sales of over $20 billion from the five largest companies: Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer, and Novartis.