Vaccine Adjuvant Research

Adjuvants are designed to enhance the immune response and they are key components of modern subunit vaccines based on purified protein antigens. Vaccines against various diseases  depends on different parts of the complex immune system to be active. At SSI, we perform basic research on the early signals that initiate and direct the immune system. This knowledge is used in the development of highly active adjuvants for different vaccines

Modern vaccine technology

Modern vaccines are based on highly purified protein antigens providing a safe and well-defined alternative to traditional live and killed whole-cell vaccines. However, protein antigens are often not immunogenic when administered by themselves. The generation of strong immune responses therefore requires that the antigen is delivered in adjuvants that activate the immune system and increase the response to the protein antigen.

Facts on Adjuvants

from Latin adjuvāre; to help. A substance that enhances the immune response stimulated by an antigen when injected with the antigen (Collins English Dictionary)

Adjuvant design

The aim of our research is to tailor the adjuvant to induce the exact immune response needed to control the pathogen. This is possible through the construction of adjuvants based on liposomes that incorporates immunostimulators. The immunostimulators are derived from naturally occuring molecules from microorganisms that trigger different parts of the immune system and induce strong responses. The properties of these liposomes can be modified and they can be produce in different sizes and with different molecules incorporated depending on the immune response needed for a specific vaccine. The tailormade liposomes are combined with the vaccine antigen in the final vaccine. The liposome will ensure that the vaccine antigen is presented to the right cells of the immune system and that the desired immune response is being generated.

The CAF adjuvants from SSI

Our adjuvants are all based on positively charged liposomes and are therefore called Cationic Adjuvant Formulations (CAF). The first formulation developed is called CAF01, clinical investigations in humans have shown that it is both safe and remarkably effective at inducing vaccine specific T cells, which play an important role in the protection against e.g. tuberculosis and pandemic influenza. Our 2nd generation adjuvant, CAF09, which activates the so called killer T cells, which play an important role in the battle against e.g. cancer and HIV, is now going through clinical evaluation in a vaccine against prostate cancer.

Last revised 15 October 2017


Vaccine formulation and delivery

Head of Section
Dennis Christensen

Tel: +45 3268 3804

Vice President, Vaccine R&D
Peter L. Andersen

Tel +45 3268 3462