2022-011 – Malaria Immunogen

According to the CDC, there were 229 million cases of malaria in 2019, resulting in 409,000 deaths, mostly in children. Because much of the regions where malaria is the most widespread also tend to be those with existing stifled economies, malaria affects the global economy greatly. Currently, there are several malaria-preventing drugs available on the market for those entering high-risk areas for periods of up to a month, but for the population that faces a high risk of contracting malaria daily, an effective vaccine is needed. The search for this vaccine is considered one of medicine’s most urgent priorities.

When malaria infects the body, it manifests through a progression of stages, first attacking liver cells, then blood cells, where it causes most of its symptoms and deaths, and then finally forms gametes which can be picked up by mosquitos and spread throughout a population. pre-erythrocytic vaccines target the disease during its liver-stage before it is at its most dangerous. However, developing effective vaccines that prevent malaria infection at the liver stage is incredibly difficult. For example, the only approved malaria vaccine (RTS, S-AS01) has low efficacy that rapidly wanes over time. Thus, a successful vaccine must elicit very strong antibody responses and these antibodies must be long-lasting.

Technology Description:
Researchers at the University of New Mexico, in collaboration with Vaccine Pty. Ltd. and Johns Hopkins University, have developed pre-erythrocytic malaria virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine that targets a recently described region of the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CSP) that is particularly vulnerable to antibodies. This vaccine, called L9 VLP, elicits strong and long-lasting antibody responses that can provide sterilizing protection from malaria infection in state-of-the-art mouse malaria infection models that have been used to predict clinical efficacy. This vaccine utilizes a bacteriophage VLP-based platform technology has been shown to be equally immunogenic in humans in clinical trials. These data strongly support L9 VLPs as a promising malaria vaccine candidate.




  • Novel vaccine that demonstrates strong and durable antibody responses
  • Applications in the prevention of deadly malaria infection
  • Shown to provide protection from blood-stage malaria in a mouse infection model

Potential Applications:

  • Malaria Prevention
  • Vaccine Development
  • Virus-Like Particle Vaccines

Additional Information:


A vaccine targeting the L9 epitope of the malaria circumsporozoite protein confers protection from blood-stage infection in a mouse challenge model


UNM Rainforest Innovations has filed intellectual property on this exciting new technology and is currently exploring commercialization options. If you are interested in information about this or other technologies, please contact Arlene Young at ayoung@innovations.unm.edu or 505-272-7886.

About UNM Rainforest Innovations
As the technology-transfer and economic-development organization for the University of New Mexico, UNM Rainforest Innovations protects and commercializes technologies developed at the University of New Mexico (UNM) by filing patents and copyrights and transferring the technologies to the marketplace. We connect the business community (companies, entrepreneurs and investors) to these UNM technologies for licensing opportunities and the creation of startup companies. Visit http://innovations.unm.edu/

Contact Information:

Name : Gregg Benninger

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Email: GBanninger@innovations.unm.edu

Phone: 505-272-7908

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