A vaccine technology developed at The University of New Mexico by Professors Bryce Chackerian and David Peabody continues to expand its ability to treat a growing number of infectious diseases, chronic diseases, and cancers. Dr. David Peabody and Dr. Bryce Chackerian, professors in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, are co-inventors of the VLP (virus-like particles) platform technology. The faculty inventors have been collaborating since 2006 to develop various vaccines from the technology. VLPs are viruses that have had their DNA removed so that they retain their external structure but are unable to replicate. When they are injected into the body, they induce an immune response without causing infection. The technology uses a family of viruses that infect bacteria—called RNA bacteriophages—to construct the VLPs. The bacteriophages can be produced at high yields, are very adaptable to protein engineering and can’t infect people—characteristics that make for a very versatile and useful vaccine platform that can produce vaccines that are highly effective and extremely safe.
New Mexico biotech company AgilVax, Inc., co-founded by the two inventors who also sit on its Scientific Advisory Board, is headquartered in Albuquerque, with offices in El Paso and at the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Labs at Texas Medical Center (JLABS @ TMC) in Houston. The company is commercializing the virus-like particle (VLP) technology platform for targeted cancer immunotherapies and vaccines. The company’s AX09 cancer immunotherapy is being developed to treat metastatic breast cancer and other cancers.
Read more about the technology and latest research developments in a June 19, 2019 interview of Dr. Chackerian by Kara Leasure Shanley, “Shot at a Cure,” from The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Newsroom, at http://hscnews.unm.edu/news/shot-at-a-cure.