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Leiden, 22 March 2018 – Leiden University has received a prestigious TTW-grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) to collaborate with private partners ZoBio, and Batavia Biosciences to propel SATIRNTM technology, developed by Batavia Biosciences. The project aims to deliver, amongst others, better influenza vaccines.

Under the TTW program, scientists from the partners will collaborate closely on the novel Nanodisc membrane protein formulation technology for the coming 4 years. Nanodiscs are small bundles of lipids held together by so-called scaffold proteins, thereby providing a natural environment for membrane proteins such as the influenza derived hemagglutinin. The novel Nanodiscs, investigated under the TTW program, will make use of different lipid formulations and scaffold proteins making them self-adjuvanting and thermostable.

Prof. Dr. Marcellus Ubbink (Leiden University) commented: “This technology may revolutionize vaccine development allowing membrane-anchored antigens to be formulated in their native conformation. The TTW program is designed to showcase the technology by developing a better influenza vaccine as well as to employ it for screening assays in drug development.”

Dr. Menzo Havenga (CEO Batavia Biosciences) adds: “Batavia Biosciences is privileged to work with ZoBio and the group of Professor Ubbink at the University of Leiden. We are excited to develop and test a SATIRNTM technology based flu vaccine.”

Dr. Gregg Siegal (CEO ZoBio) said: “We are excited to investigate the use of the SATIRNTM technology to understand its implications for using biophysical drug discovery tools with membrane proteins such as GPCRs. Current methods do not adequately address the requirement these proteins impose for native membrane-like environments.”

The need for a better influenza vaccine is reflected by this years’ poor vaccine effectiveness. The 2017/2018 seasonal influenza vaccine on the market only offered 36% effectiveness against the circulating influenza A and B strains, whereas in general the yearly influenza vaccine effectiveness oscillates between 40% and 60%.

More information on website Leiden University.