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Key Ingredients to Effective Vaccines

As part of our vaccine platform, we work on adjuvant development. We have developed multiple adjuvant formulations, and are working with collaborators in various disease areas spanning preclinical studies and clinical trials.

Benefits of adjuvants
  • Improves immune response
  • Broadens vaccine protections
  • Reduces the amount of antigen needed

Vaccines have several components. Antigens stimulate antibodies in the immune system to combat infectious diseases. Adjuvants are substances added to vaccines that enhance the ability of antigens to stimulate the body's immune response. "Adjuvant" comes from the Latin word adiuvare, meaning "to help."

Current Vaccine Challenges

Few new effective vaccines have been recently developed. If we could protect the global population from infectious disease pathogens such as MTB, HIV and the malaria parasite by vaccination, we could dramatically advance global health and reduce the health care costs that burden many governments.

Our Solutions

We have been able to develop defined molecules that stimulate an early warning signal in the body's immune system, thereby causing a powerful and broad immune response to defined antigens. We are studying how this stimulation translates into broad protection against various pathogens and helps reduce the required vaccine dose and number of shots a patient needs. We are also researching how these molecules may help overcome aging of the immune system in the elderly.

We are enabling worldwide access to our immune-enhancing technologies. As these molecules pass regulatory testing, we have actively sought opportunities for their commercial manufacture around the globe. We are in the process of transferring our technology to many sites, including India, Romania, and Brazil.


Coler RN, Bertholet S, Moutaftsi M, Guderian JA, Windish HP, Baldwin SL, Laughlin EM, Duthie MS, Fox CB, Carter D, Friede M, Vedvick TS, Reed SG "Development and Characterization of Synthetic Glucopyranosyl Lipid Adjuvant System as a Vaccine Adjuvant". PLoS ONE 6(1): 2011 Jan.

Lousada-Dietrich S, Jogdanda PS, Jepsena S, Pintob VV, Ditlev SB, Christiansen M, Larsen SO, Fox CB, Raman VS, Howard RF, Vedvick TS, Ireton G, Carter D, Reed SG, and Theisen M, "A synthetic TLR4 agonist formulated in an emulsion enhances humoral and Type 1 cellular immune responses against GMZ2 — a GLURP-MSP3 fusion protein malaria vaccine candidate" accepted Feb 2011, Vaccine

Carter D, Reed SG. "Role of adjuvants in modeling the immune response" Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2010 Sep;5(5):409-13.

Duthie MS, Windish HP, Fox CB, Reed SG. 2011. Use of defined TLR ligands as adjuvants within human vaccines. Immunol Rev 239: 178-96

Key Scientists

Darrick Carter
Steve Reed
Rhea Coler
Anna Marie Beckmann
Tom Vedvick
Chris Fox

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Infectious Disease Research Institute