Tag Archive: polymun

  1. EAVI2020 Students in Focus: Ehsan Suleiman (Polymun Scientific, Austria)

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    Time to meet: Ehsan Suleiman

    I am an employee of Polymun Scientific and a PhD student of Biomolecular Technology of Proteins (BioToP) at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria. I have been involved in the development of readily scalable approaches for the manufacturing of liposomes-based vaccines against HIV-1 for almost five years now. In a collaborative effort with scientists at the Institute of Clinical and Molecular Virology at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen we have been able to advance a novel vaccine platform from the early stage of conceptualization to first in vivo trials.

    profile photo of Ehsan Suleiman

    Ehsan Suleiman is in his 5th year PhD focussing on Liposome-based HIV-1 vaccines.

    Being part of the European AIDS Vaccine Initiative 2020 and working on a project at the interface of academia and industry has been a unique and rewarding experience. Working in this setting has placed me between the poles of basic research, clinical research and the biopharmaceutical industry. This has given me the opportunity to experience vaccine development from these different perspectives and to develop my roles as communicator and mediator. The last years have made me recognize the complexity of HIV/AIDS and have made me internalize the fact that ending this devastating pandemic is not merely a scientific or technical challenge. It is a socio-economic, social, political and logistical challenge that requires the active inclusion/participation of affected people and the establishment of cross-functional collaborations for it to be overcome. It is a challenge that will require agents like scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, policy and decisionmakers to critically reflect on their privileges, their approaches and their responsibility to create tangible impact in order to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

    I am currently in my final year and in the process of writing up my doctoral thesis. When I am not in the lab or at the office I love to cook, politicise, socialise, work out or share quality time with my dearest and nearest. So far, I have not decided on what exactly to do next in my career. What I know for sure is that I would love to share all the lessons I have learned as a young researcher in the last years and that I would like to continue to be part of a bold, impact-generating, international consortium such as the European AIDS Vaccine Initiative 2020.

  2. EAVI2020 Students in Focus: Philipp Mundsperger (Polymun Scientific, Austria)

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    Let’s meet Philipp Mundsperger.

    photo of Phillipp Mundsperger

    PhD student at Polymun Scientific and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria

    Hi! My name is Philipp and I am a PhD student at Polymun Scientific and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria. Within the scope of the EAVI2020 framework, I am found on the industry side of the programme where my colleagues and I have worked on the manufacturing of soluble variants of the HIV-virus envelope glycoprotein (HIV-1 Env) as prospective vaccine antigens. Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to get to know lots of aspects of vaccine manufacturing, such as the generation of cell lines for the production of vaccine antigens, the production in small and large scale, as well as new methods to ensure quality and safety of the final protein product. Looking back I have to say it was challenging to dig into a very specialised topic in a short amount of time, but that has been the time when I’ve learned the most – professionally and personally. Besides the daily life in the lab, the EAVI2020 PhD training program provided me with the opportunity to attend several training courses and annual consortium meetings, held and organised by partnering institutions.  Stimulating discussions among fellow students and PIs about new ideas or difficulties have made those courses and meetings a great source of motivation to put my own work in the context of the bigger picture of EAVI2020. After graduating I plan to find a job in industry, since I love to work at the interface between applied science and application. Especially now, that I am approaching the final phase of my PhD I am feeling grateful that I have had the chance to get involved with the EAVI2020 community – a truly amazing and inspiring group of people, both in terms of scientific excellence and collaborating efforts.

  3. EAVI2020 Partner Focused Stories: Polymun

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    Founded in 1992, Polymun is a private company fully owned by the Katinger family, located in Klosterneuburg. The company offers development and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) production of biopharmaceuticals and liposomal formulations of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) as well as vaccine antigens.

    Polymun’s participation in the EAVI2020 project is mainly related to WP3 (Product Development and Manufacture) and seeks 1) production of recombinant HIV envelope proteins, 2) adjuvants for glycoprotein presentation, and 3) T helper liposomes process/formulation development.

    Recombinant HIV Envelope Proteins

    The manufacture of up to eight variants of the HIV envelope glycoprotein in cGMP grade quality is central to the project since Polymun provides the antigens which will be used for upcoming clinical trials. The activities in order to accomplish this task involve a) establishment of Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) producer cell lines, b) upstream and downstream process development, production of pre-clinical and clinical material and c) release and stability testing as well as according to documentation for clinical applications.

    By now, we were able to establish two clonal CHO producer cell lines for the first two HIV envelope glycoprotein variants. Cell line development for the next antigens in the pipeline is already ongoing. Upstream and downstream procedures (affinity chromatography based) were established and the GMP production of the first two antigens could be successfully finished in 2017. These HIV envelope protein antigens are now available for clinical testing, starting in 2018.

    Adjuvants

    The surface glycoprotein of HIV has been extensively studied and is generally acknowledged to be the most appropriate candidate for a protective HIV vaccine. However, such as many other vaccine antigens it induces only poor immune responses when administered. Therefore, adjuvant formulations are given along with vaccine antigens to improve the immune response. The appropriate adjuvant formulation may eventually induce an increased production of protective antibodies and long-lasting immunity. MPLA liposome suspensions and squalene based o/w emulsions are two established adjuvant formulations that are of particular interest.

    Polymun was able to produce and provide both formulations to collaborators within the EAVI2020 consortium. While the squalene based o/w emulsion is produced for research purpose only, the MPLA liposome suspension is produced in clinical-grade using a scalable GMP-compliant process.

    T Helper Liposomes

    The modulation and enhancement of immune responses against vaccine antigens are central to the success of a protective HIV vaccine candidate. Intrastructural help (ISH) is an immunological phenomenon that was previously shown to harness pre-existing immunity against distinct pathogens to improve the immune response against vaccine antigens such as the surface glycoprotein of HIV. It is believed that the concept of ISH can be realised in humans with vaccination-induced immunity against hepatitis B virus (HBV). The immune response against the HIV vaccine antigen is improved by the use of liposome that presents HIV vaccine antigens on their surface and also carries HBV-derived components (immunodominant peptides) within their interior. In other words, this approach aims to improve immune responses by presenting the immune system something known (the HBV-derived peptide) along with something new and unknown (the HIV vaccine antigen).

    Polymun is performing process and formulation development for these T helper liposomes in close collaboration with Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. The development of the manufacturing process of this novel HIV vaccine candidate is performed with a particular focus on its scalability and applicability for the production of clinical-grade material. So far, Polymun developed protocols for efficient and controlled encapsulation of T helper peptides into liposomes and also established relevant analytical methods. Methods for the controlled and stable coupling of the vaccine antigens on to the surface of peptide-loaded liposomes are currently being developed.

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