iQur uses its proprietary tandem core technology to develop vaccines for infectious diseases including influenza, malaria, dengue fever, human cytomegalovirus and hepatitis C.
The vaccines that iQur is developing use virus-like particles, naturally occurring biological molecules that mimic viruses, to stimulate the immune system and inoculate against pathogens. The vaccine can deliver selected antigens, engineered into the particles, to stimulate specific immune responses that protect the recipient from disease. The vaccines can be manufactured in yeast, bacteria or plants. The virus-like particles lack the ability to replicate and so are very safe compared to traditional vaccines that are made from weakened strains or killed pathogenic viruses.
Tandem core forms a platform vaccine which the scientists at iQur can adapt to mimic different virus targets. Tandem core uses structural components of the hepatitis B virus to create virus-like particles into which specific antigens can be inserted.
Professor Rosenberg explains the concept by drawing analogy with a golf ball:
“Imagine that hepatitis B tandem core proteins assemble to create a particle like a golf-ball. The golf-ball has hundreds of pits on its surface. Our technology enables us to design golf balls with specific proteins inserted into the pits so that the whole golf-ball is now coated with the protein of interest. This is how we create our virus-like particle vaccines.
We can design virus-like particles using tandem cores to create the “golf-ball”, coating them with any specific antigen of our choice as an immunogen to stimulate immune responses which protect against disease. The beauty of this approach is that we now have expertise in making the VLP platform and this can be adapted to protect against, or fight, any disease for which a known antigen has been, or can be defined.”
While iQur is developing vaccines against some of its own targets, the company is very interested in hearing from collaborators interested in working with us to develop novel vaccines. Contact CEO, William Rosenberg, to discuss any potential collaborations.