Vaccine Development

Learn more about our work in developing novel vaccines and vaccine delivery platforms.

Burnet has expertise in the development of novel vaccine technologies including delivery systems and adjuvants, novel vaccine formulations, vaccine specific tools and assays.

We translate research outcomes through out-licensing many of these technologies, some of which are in clinical trials.

Hepatitis C Vaccine

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the leading indicator for liver transplantation in Western countries. There is no vaccine available and current treatments are toxic and only partly effective. HCV’s genetic variability makes it difficult to generate one vaccine that is protective for the various HCV genotypes.

Researchers in the Drummer/Poumbourios Laboratory have developed an HCV vaccine candidate that uses a novel antigen based on modifying the glycoprotein E2 receptor-binding domain.

Vaccines against malaria

The main groups undertaking research into the development of vaccines against malaria include the laboratories headed by Professor James Beeson, Professor Brendan Crabb, Dr Paul Gilson, Associate Professor Freya Fowkes and Associate Professor David Anderson.

The major aims of this program are to identify and prioritise candidate antigens for vaccine development, determine the optimal formulation and delivery of vaccine antigens, and develop assays to measure vaccine-induced immune responses that can be used in vaccine development and clinical trials. Our program includes the two major causes of malaria, Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax.

Vaccines against cancer

Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide with deaths attributed to the disease expected to rise to over 11 million per year by 2030. There are still few treatment options for many cancers including ovarian, prostate and certain forms of breast cancer.

Researchers at Burnet have developed a novel vaccine delivery platform that can be used to target cancer antigens to immune cells and assist the immune system in fighting the disease. They have developed a vaccine comprising an oxidised mannan delivery platform to which a fusion protein (FP) of the tumour associated antigen MUC1 was conjugated.

The OM technology has been licensed to Prima BioMed Ltd and 4G Vaccines Pty Ltd who are respectively developing ex-vivo and in-vivo versions of the vaccine.

Novel vaccines and delivery platforms

Burnet and Monash University are examining how the protein crystals excreted by insects after a virus could help create new vaccines to protect people against diseases like HIV.

Dr Rose Ffrench, Head of the Viral Immunology Group at Burnet, says researchers are trying to use the properties of the crystals to stimulate the immune system to recognise foreign antigens and make the right response.

The group has been awarded funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges, to conduct further preclinical studies for its application in HIV.

Contact Details

Doctor Patricia Vietheer

Deputy Head, Project Management and Quality Assurance; Program Manager, Healthy Ageing