Technology

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The Molecular Clamp technology

The key technical advantage of the Molecular Clamp is its ability to impart superior stability over alternative trimerisation approaches, which enables consistent and high yield production of viral fusion proteins in their native trimeric “prefusion” form. 

A vaccine’s efficacy relies on its ability to stimulate the immune system with antigens in the correct conformation. Producing these proteins in such conformation, in a form that allows long term storage and convenient administration, remains a major challenge. 

The Molecular Clamp technology is able to lock viral surface proteins into the optimal conformation to induce highly protective immunity, stability and manufacturability, enabling the design of ready-to-use fully liquid vaccines. This technology has been invented by Prof Paul Young, Dr Daniel Watterson, Dr Keith Chappell and their groups at The University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane, Australia. The Molecular Clamp technology has already been applied to generate vaccine candidates against several life-threatening respiratory viruses including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), metapneumovirus, influenza and SARS-CoV-2. The Molecular Clamp technology is exclusively licensed to Vicebio by Uniquest, the UoQ commercialisation company

Clinical proof-of-concept has been achieved for SARS-CoV-2 with a previous version of this technology in a Phase 1 study conducted in Australia by UQ (Chappell et al., Lancet Infect Dis. 2021).

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UniQuest is the main commercialisation company of The University of Queensland and specialises in global technology transfer and facilitates access for all business. Notable vaccine licensing success include the blockbuster cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil®.

Publications

Development of molecular clamp stabilized hemagglutinin vaccines for Influenza A viruses.

McMillan CLD, Cheung STM, Modhiran N, Barnes J, Amarilla AA, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Lee LYY, Guilfoyle K, van Amerongen G, Stittelaar K, Jakob V, Lebas C, Reading P, Short KR, Young PR, Watterson D, Chappell KJ. NPJ Vaccines  2021



Combinatorial F-G Immunogens as Nipah and Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccine Candidates.

Isaacs A, Cheung STM, Thakur N, Jaberolansar N, Young A, Modhiran N, Bailey D, Graham SP, Young PR, Chappell KJ, Watterson D. Viruses 2021


Safety and immunogenicity of an MF59-adjuvanted spike glycoprotein-clamp vaccine for SARS-CoV-2: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1 trial.

Chappell KJ, Mordant FL, Li Z, Wijesundara DK, Ellenberg P, Lackenby JA, Cheung STM, Modhiran N, Avumegah MS, Henderson CL, Hoger K, Griffin P, Bennet J, Hensen L, Zhang W, Nguyen THO, Marrero-Hernandez S, Selva KJ, Chung AW, Tran MH, Tapley P, Barnes J, Reading PC, Nicholson S, Corby S, Holgate T, Wines BD, Hogarth PM, Kedzierska K, Purcell DFJ, Ranasinghe C, Subbarao K, Watterson D, Young PR, Munro TP. Lancet Infect Dis 2021

Preclinical development of a molecular clamp-stabilised subunit vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

Watterson D, Wijesundara DK, Modhiran N, Mordant FL, Li Z, Avumegah MS, McMillan CL, Lackenby J, Guilfoyle K, van Amerongen G, Stittelaar K, Cheung ST, Bibby S, Daleris M, Hoger K, Gillard M, Radunz E, Jones ML, Hughes K, Hughes B, Goh J, Edwards D, Scoble J, Pearce L, Kowalczyk L, Phan T, La M, Lu L, Pham T, Zhou Q, Brockman DA, Morgan SJ, Lau C, Tran MH, Tapley P, Villalón-Letelier F, Barnes J, Young A, Jaberolansar N, Scott CA, Isaacs A, Amarilla AA, Khromykh AA, van den Brand JM, Reading PC, Ranasinghe C, Subbarao K, Munro TP, Young PR, Chappell KJ. Clin Transl Immunology 2021



Adjuvant Selection for Influenza and RSV Prefusion Subunit Vaccines.

Isaacs A, Li Z, Cheung STM, Wijesundara DK, McMillan CLD, Modhiran N, Young PR, Ranasinghe C, Watterson D, Chappell KJ. Vaccines (Basel) 2021


Rapid Response Subunit Vaccine Design in the Absence of Structural Information.

Wijesundara DK, Avumegah MS, Lackenby J, Modhiran N, Isaacs A, Young PR, Watterson D, Chappell KJ. Front Immunol 2020