MBF Therapeutics, the leader in the development of DNA-based immunotherapeutic checkpoint inhibitor vaccines for the animal health market, has assembled a team of African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) researchers to develop an effective, broad-spectrum ASFV vaccine, leveraging MBF Therapeutics’ proprietary immunotherapy platform and delivery system.
There is no vaccine or effective treatment for ASFV, which is highly contagious and deadly. Although not yet in North America, ASFV threatens global pork production. ASFV has devastated 50% of the world’s pork production in China, ASFV is rapidly spreading in Asia and Europe. Though ASFV causes high mortality in pigs, thankfully it does not infect humans.
Why an Effective ASFV Vaccine has yet to be Developed
The ASF viral genome is large and complex, having evolved into more than 20 different genotypes and many more distinct strains. Thus far, attempts to develop an effective ASFV vaccine have taken conventional approaches albeit with incremental improvements, such as gene-deleted modified live virus, protein subunits, and a small assortment of gene-based antigens. Some protection against ASFV has been observed when the strain used to create the vaccine is then used in homologous strain challenge studies.
To date, no vaccines provide broad-spectrum protection against the hundreds of different variations of ASFV. In addition, whereas most vaccines have been designed to elicit antibody responses, it is clear from research that a sustained targeted T-cell response is required for protection against ASFV.
MBF Therapeutics’ ASFV Vaccine Strategy and Proprietary Vaccine Platform Technology: A Different Approach
MBF Therapeutics’ ASFV vaccine development strategy focuses on creating DNA-based vaccines that elicit potent T-cell responses to a multiplicity of conserved antigens to achieve broad-spectrum protection. MBF Therapeutics’ vaccine platform technology comprises a proprietary combination of three components:
- Delivery component – CaptaVax™, a delivery system based on functionalized calcium phosphate nanoparticles size-optimized for uptake by naive innate antigen presentation cells to effectively stimulate strong innate trained immunity.
- Immunomodulator component – Species-specific stimulatory immunomodulators and checkpoint inhibitors that elicit potent antigen-specific antibodies and memory T cells.
- Antigen component – Disease-specific, protective T- and B-cell antigens.
MBF Therapeutics’ Team of Scientific Experts are Poised to Transform ASFV Vaccine Development
MBFT is collaborating with a diverse and expert group of scientists and molecular biologists, with deep experience in viral genomics, veterinary immunology, ASFV research, and vaccine design. This consortium of academic and industry specialists is focused on applying immunotherapeutic advances to solve this challenging infectious disease threat. The urgent need for a different approach to ASFV prevention drives this team to explore novel strategies, for which MBFT platform technology has the potential to transform vaccine design and manufacture.
Joining Lorraine H. Keller, PhD, CSO, MBF Therapeutics Inc., are:
- Megan C. Neiderwerder, DVM, PhD, Assistant Professor, Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Manhattan, KS
- Raymond “Bob” Rowland, PhD, Professor of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
- Luca Popescu, DVM, PhD, Senior Scientist, MRIGlobal, Kansas City, MO
- Tobias Kaeser, PhD, Assistant Professor, Swine Immunology, North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC
- Malla Padidam, PhD, President, OneWorld Biotech, Inc.
Diamond Animal Health, Inc., Des Moines, IA, will provide vaccine manufacturing. Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX will provide the CaptaVax nanoparticles for these studies.
“Complex and devastating animal diseases like ASFV can impact our agriculture globally, and dramatically affect our food supplies,” said Peter K. Dorhout, vice president for research at Kansas State University. “At K-State and NC State, our mission as land-grant universities is to be research partners with private sector companies to develop cutting-edge science to improve people’s lives. These therapeutics, and the teams that created them, are examples of what we can accomplish when we work together.”
According to MBF Therapeutics’ Executive Vice President of Business Development Ronald Cravens, MS, DVM, “We believe that by utilizing a collaborative approach – together with our proprietary vaccine platform technology and vaccine development strategy – MBF Therapeutics’ innovative vaccine design platform will contribute to developing a truly effective, broad-spectrum ASFV vaccine.”
About MBF Therapeutics
MBF Therapeutics is a clinical-stage animal health company developing and commercializing proprietary checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy technology for cancer and infectious diseases. T-cell activation precisely targets selected antigens associated with cancer cells or infectious pathogens while preventing T-cell exhaustion, thus, yielding a durable cell-mediated immunity. MBFT has exclusively in-licensed check point inhibitor technology from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, PA, and has an exclusive option from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC for additional check point inhibitor technology. In addition, MBFT has discovered novel proprietary immunomodulating technology. These combined with a proprietary non-viral delivery system (CaptaVax™), exclusively in-licensed from the Southwest Research Institute, provides MBFT with a powerful platform technology from which multiple innovative products can be developed for veterinary use where cellular antigens are well defined. For more information about MBF Therapeutics, visit www.mbftherapeutics.com.
MRIGlobal addresses some of the world’s greatest threats and challenges. Founded in 1944 as an independent, non-profit organization, we perform contract research for government, industry, and academia. Our customized solutions in national security and defense and health include research and development capabilities in clinical research support, infectious disease and biological threat agent detection, global biological engagement, in vitro diagnostics, and laboratory management and operations. MRIGlobal is one of two partners in the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, which manages and operates the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, for the U.S. Department of Energy.
About Kansas State University
Kansas State University is a comprehensive, research, land-grant institution serving students and the people of Kansas, the nation, and the world. Since its founding in 1863, the university has evolved into a modern institution of higher education, committed to quality programs, and responsive to a rapidly changing world and the aspirations of an increasingly diverse society. Together with other major comprehensive universities, K-State shares responsibilities for developing human potential, expanding knowledge, enriching cultural expression, and extending its expertise to individuals, business, education, and government.