Skip to main content

Life science hotlist: Abera Bioscience - Fighting disease through new vaccine platforms

News   •   Oct 02, 2013 13:41 UTC

Diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis cause much suffering and loss of life all over the world. Vaccines are the most efficient and cost-effective way to combat the threat of infectious diseases such as these.

Unfortunately, the vaccines available today are not sophisticated enough to help eradicate complicated diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis once and for all. Their pathogens are all too clever and complex for normal ”simple” vaccines.

To help stem such disease, Abera Bioscience has designed a proprietary platform to speed up the development of multivalent and multistage vaccines; “smart” vaccines that immunise against two or more microorganisms/strains. The platform can display multiple antigens at high density at the surface of the carrier, so-called outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), which are small vesicles that shed from the outer membranes of all gram-negative bacteria. This makes the platform particularly suitable for the production of combination vaccines targeting multiple diseases at the same time or diseases with many variations.

OMVs are highly promising vaccine candidates as they combine several unique features:

Immunogenicity: the ability to simulate immune responses in the parent bacteria

Safety: unlike the parent bacteria, OMVs can’t replicate and are therefore not subject to the same regulatory hurdles as with vaccines using live bacteria

• Compatibility with oral and nasal delivery: OMVs are ideally suited to induce both systemic and local mucosal responses to prevent transmission of pathogens.

OMVs are already used in licensed human vaccines including the recently approved MenB vaccine against meningitis.

Abera’s platform takes the OMV technology to the next level by decorating them with antigens from other bacteria, viruses or parasites causing disease. The antigens are presented using an effective and versatile system for surface display. This system gives optimal exposure to the immune system and can simultaneously distribute multiple antigens to prevent immune evasion. It is also much quicker than other platforms; prototype vaccines can be ready in days rather than months.

The result is a platform based on scalable, cost-effective production methods and a new type of bacterial strain made by Abera.

”The demand for new vaccines and vaccine development technologies is continuously strong and the market for vaccines is one of the fastest growing life science sectors. We currently have vaccine candidates against tuberculosis, influenza, Streptococcus pneumonia and chlamydia under development. It’s a really exciting time for us as a company right now,” says CEO Amin Omrani.

Abera Bioscience is based in Stockholm, much because of the strong life science cluster in the region.

”It’s a great environment to be in as a start-up; even from the start you have your eye set on a global market after seeing all the successful life science companies operating in and around Stockholm. It’s essential that the region continues to work to attract global interest for the companies operating here,” Amin says.

For Abera Bioscience, exciting times are ahead:

”We are currently seeking research partnerships with leading actors on the market, in order to develop new and exciting vaccine candidates. We are also looking for financial support to continue the development of our business, to validate our platform in further pre-clinical studies,” Amin reveals.

”Within the next five years, we will further develop our partnerships with commercial actors, to develop new and exciting vaccine candidates.