Genetically Detoxified Tetanus Toxin for Use in Vaccines
Award last edited on: 1/28/2021

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code

Principal Investigator
Andrew Lees

Company Information

Fina Biosolutions LLC

9430 Key West Avenue Suite 200
Rockville, MD 20850
   (877) 346-2246
Location: Single
Congr. District: 08
County: Montgomery

Phase I

Contract Number: 1R43AI148018-01A1
Start Date: 4/20/2020    Completed: 3/31/2021
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids are highly effective vaccines for preventing diseases. As “carrier proteins”, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids enhance the immunogenicity of small molecules and polysaccharides. However, tetanus toxoid (TTxd) represents only 20-70% of the protein in the TTxd vaccine and the TTxd vaccine contains hundreds of ‘un-intended/contaminant’ clostridial proteins. Purification is often needed prior to TTxd use a conjugate vaccine carrier. TT is detoxified with formaldehyde, using an over 30-day incubation that blocks a subset lysines that cannot then be used for conjugation with antigens. Collaborators at the Medical College of Wisconsin have engineered a full-length, atoxic tetanus toxin (M8TT) with 8 independent mutations reducing catalysis, translocation, and binding functions. Here, Fina Biosolutions (FinaBio) proposes to develop and manufacture M8TT in a proprietary engineered E. coli strain that has a unique oxidative environment. This strain has been used successfully to produce multi-grams/L amounts of CRM197, a mutated form of diphtheria toxin that has been successfully used as a recombinantly expressed vaccine protein carrier. This proposal uses recombinant DNA technology, biotechnology, biochemistry and immunological approaches to produce and test the immunological potency of this next generation conjugate tetanus vaccine platform. The Specific Aims for Phase I are to: subclone and scale up production and purify > 1 g/L of M8TT at >95% purity; and to test the immunological properties of M8TT versus conventional TTxd to produce a conjugate of Hemophilus influenzae subtype b polyribitol phosphate sugar PRP conjugated to M8TT and TTxd to determine if PRP-TTxd is a more potent conjugate vaccine to PRP and TT than PRP-TTxd. If successful, Phase II studies will optimize the M8TT manufacturing process to 50 L production scale and characterize the product for safety and efficacy in pre-clinical trials. In addition, the utility of M8TT as a vaccine carrier protein will be further explored with additional antigens, including small molecules and other polysaccharides. Ultimately, a superior tetanus vaccine protein will be commercialized by advancing a 50-year old industrial technology with a new, modernized, economic, effective, and safe conjugate TT vaccine platform.

Public Health Relevance Statement:
Project Narrative Tetanus toxoid (TTxd) is a highly effective vaccines for preventing tetanus and has been used as a “carrier protein”, to enhance small molecules and polysaccharides immunogenicity. However, TTxd represents only 20- 70% of the protein in the TTxd vaccine and the TTxd vaccine contains hundreds of ‘un-intended/contaminant’ clostridial proteins. This proposal will engineer a recombinant tetanus protein to replace TTxd as a conjugate vaccine platform to produce new conjugate vaccines.

Project Terms:
Antibody Formation; Antigens; Bacterial Toxins; base; Binding; Biochemistry; Biotechnology; Carrier Proteins; Catalysis; Chemicals; Clostridium tetani; Conjugate Vaccines; cost; cross reacting material 197; Diphtheria Toxin; Diphtheria Toxoid; Disease; disulfide bond; Disulfides; Economics; Endotoxins; Engineering; Environment; Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay; Escherichia coli; Fermentation; Formaldehyde; Generations; Genetic Engineering; Haemophilus influenzae; Haemophilus influenzae type b; Immunize; immunogenicity; Immunologic Tests; Immunologics; in vivo; Industrialization; innovation; inorganic phosphate; Length; Lysine; manufacturability; manufacturing process; medical schools; Methods; Modernization; Molecular Analysis; Molecular Conformation; Mus; Mutate; Mutation; next generation; Organism; Phase; phase 2 study; polyribitol phosphate; Polysaccharides; preclinical study; preclinical trial; prevent; Production; Property; Proteins; Protocols documentation; receptor binding; Recombinants; Safety; scale up; Small Business Innovation Research Grant; small molecule; success; Sugar Phosphates; System; Technology; Tetanus; Tetanus Toxin; Tetanus Toxoid; Tetanus Vaccine; Toxin; Toxoids; Vaccines; Wisconsin

Phase II

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Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase II year
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