This is Licence-Ready

AbBind is an antibody compatible, plug-and-play virus-like particle platform with applications in vaccinology and tissue-specific gene therapy.

The major structural proteins of many viruses self-assemble into non-infectious multimeric complexes called virus-like particles (VLPs). These can act as scaffolds to display heterologous antigens in infectious disease and cancer vaccines.

Previously, antigens of interest have been directly fused to the structural protein, however, in many cases this interferes with the assembly of the VLP, thereby limiting the antigens that can be displayed.

Researchers at The University of Manchester have now developed a synthetic virus-like particle called AbBind that has high affinity to the Fc region of antibodies. Pre-assembled AbBind particles can be mixed with a chimeric protein comprising the antigen of interest and an Fc region.

The effect is two-fold: first, assembly of the VLP prior to addition of the antigen overcomes self-assembly challenges, and second, fusion of the antigen of interest to an Fc domain stabilises the antigen. Together, these increase the variety of antigens that could be effectively displayed on the VLP.

AbBind particles can also be decorated with molecules that target the VLP to specific cell types or tissues (e.g., receptor-targeting Fc-fusions or monoclonal antibodies). Data from in vivo experiments, shows that targeting AbBind vaccines to dendritic cells using dendritic cell-targeting monoclonal antibodies, enhances cellular immunity in vivo.

This approach could have applications as a gene therapy, whereby cargoes encapsulated within AbBind particles are targeted to specific cell types.

Technology advantages:

  • A plug-and-play platform that overcomes previous VLP self-assembly challenges
  • Fusion of antigens to an Fc-domain stabilises the antigen
  • Fully compatible with widely established antibody manufacturing technologies
  • In vivo data demonstrates induction of both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses
  • Ability to target antigens or payloads, to specific cell types or tissues

The Innovation Factory is seeking partners with expertise in vaccinology and/or tissue-targeted drug delivery, to support onward development. Available opportunities include:

  • Vaccinology: licensing or spinout investment
  • Gene therapy: co-development or licensing

This project is licence-ready. Get in touch with the project contacts to find out more.