LNP formulations produce strong immune responses, data shows 

Lipid nanoparticle siRNA antivirals

The strengths of etherna’s lipid based nanoparticle (LNP) platform have been showcased in a peer-reviewed paper in Advanced Functional Materials.  

etherna’s Vice President, Technology & Innovation, Stefaan De Koker described the paper as a “landmark” for the company and its technology. 

The RNA technology company conducted the work in collaboration with the lab of Professor De Geest at Ghent University, and describes how delivery of mRNA encoded antigens in LNPs comprising a novel class of ionisable lipids enhances the induction of antigen-specific immune responses while reducing undesired off-target expression in the liver, thereby minimising the risk of adverse events.  

The researchers compared the transfection ability and toxicity arising from the use of two different mRNA encapsulation materials, MC3 (which served as a benchmark) and etherna’s S-Ac7-DOG.  

In mouse models, the team found that S-Ac7-DOG encapsulated mRNA demonstrated markedly higher transfection, lower reactogenicity, and higher accumulation in the vaccine draining lymph nodes, tissues where immune responses against microbial antigens and tumour antigens are typically induced.  

Hypothetically, any mRNA-based drug using S-Ac7-DOG as the lipid base would therefore have improved efficacy and a better safety profile. Eventually, these findings could lead to the development and subsequent delivery of highly efficacious, safe cancer vaccines and treatments, transforming oncology as we know it.   

Key advantages and value  

Stefaan De Koker, Vice President of etherna, said: “The publication in Advanced Functional Materials demonstrates several key advantages of etherna’s mRNA and lipid nanoparticle offerings and, for the first time, demonstrates the two together. Whilst the currently published work focuses on the design of mRNA LNPs for more effective vaccines, we also have designed LNP platforms based on similar chemistries for the immune-silent delivery of mRNA to hematopoietic stem cells, macrophages and hepatocytes, thereby extending the utility of our LNP platforms to haematological disorders, rare genetic diseases, and auto-immunity.   

“It is our view that mRNA therapies, when successfully deployed, could be used to save the lives of millions of patients worldwide. As a company, we are now even better positioned to sign development agreements with large pharmaceutical companies who require additional assistance in bringing their own mRNA therapies to market.”  

Kenneth Chien, Karolinska Institute Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Swedish Research Council added: “This study establishes the value of combining the design of custom LNPs ( cLNPs) with state-of-the-art mRNA chemistry based on the optimisation of the 5’ and 3’ untranslated regions along with enhanced algorithms for codon optimisation. The etherna paradigm for cLNP design is ushering in the rapid generation of novel families of delivery systems for not only vaccination but also for in vivo tolerisation for a host of autoimmune diseases.” 

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