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Research Foundation

Vaccine Adjuvants from Self-Assembling Peptides

Reference Number: 10-03

Inventor: Xiuzhi Sun and Jishu Shi


Researchers at Kansas State University have discovered a novel peptide (H9E) that significantly improves the immune responses of modified live PRRSV and killed H1N1 influenza vaccine. Pigs vaccinated with H9E-adjuvanted PRRSV MLV developed neutralizing antibody at least one week earlier than pigs vaccinated with PRRSV MLV only. The mean hemagglutination (HA) inhibition titer in the sera from mice immunized with H9E-adjuvanted killed H1N1 virus antigen was nearly twice as much as those mice immunized with a commercial vaccine. These studies provide the first evidence that H9E can be a safe and efficacious adjuvant for H1N1 swine influenza virus vaccine.

Adjuvants have been used for decades to improve the immune response to vaccine antigens; it can not only reduce antigen dosage but also increase overall immunity duration. The most commonly used adjuvant in the U.S. today is aluminium hydroxide (AH), however, it has draw backs such as negative injection site reaction and also no compatibility for attenuated live vaccines. Many adjuvants under development, such as the one disclosed here, are peptide based because of the ability to bypass the immune system and can be alternately designed for ideal biological compatibility. Based on initial estimates, we expect the adjuvant to be cost competitive at fully scaled- up production.

  • H1N1 response was improved by 70% compared to an oil-based commercial adjuvant
  • This peptide is not virucidal and can be used to formulate with live virus
  • This peptide can form hydrogel at very low concentration (0.05% in the presence of antigen)
  • The hydrogel is water soluble and temperature stable up to 90 degrees Celsius
  • Adjuvants that can be formulated with modified live (PRRSV) or killed and attenuated microbes (H1N1, H3N1, H5N1, etc.)
  • Different forms such as; injections, microgel encapsulations or other delivery methods
Patent Status
  • International Protection (#14/118,700) filed in USA on November 19, 2013.

Kansas State University Research Foundation seeks to have discussions with companies that are interested in licensing and/or research collaborations.

Interested parties should contact:

Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization (KSU-IC)
2005 Research Park Circle Manhattan, KS 66502
Tel: 785-532-3900 Fax: 785-532-3909
E-Mail: ic@k-state.edu