Fina Biosolutions, a privately-owned RandD biotech company located in Maryland, has recently been granted a patent for “expression and purification” of the conjugate vaccine protein CRM 197. Conjugate vaccines are primarily used in the prevention of bacterial infections (such as Hib, bacterial meningitis, and bacterial pneumonia):
“Polysaccharide protein conjugate vaccines consist of polysaccharides, generally from the surface coat of bacteria, linked to protein carriers. The combination of the polysaccharide and protein carrier induces an immune response against bacteria displaying the polysaccharide contained within the vaccine on their surface, thus preventing disease.” CRM 197 is one of the most utilized protein carriers in conjugate vaccines around the world.
Unfortunately, it could only be manufactured naturally at low yields, and commercially at a high cost. Limited access to this vital protein resulted in slowed and restricted vaccine development while simultaneously sending vaccine production costs skyrocketing. Fina Biosolutions’ revolutionary new method of CRM 197 expression permits a low-cost, high yield production of the valuable component, which should lower the cost it takes to manufacture conjugate vaccines.
“Our goal is to reduce the vaccine cost barrier and grant people in need access to life-saving vaccines,” said Dr. Andrew Lees, Founder and CEO of Fina Biosolutions. “We couldn’t be more pleased to announce that we succeeded in creating a needed vaccine protein, CRM 197, in an efficient and more cost-effective way. Our proprietary method of production will help people around the world protect themselves, their children and their loved ones from pneumonia, meningitis and more.”
Vaccines are estimated to prevent more than 2.5 million unnecessary deaths each year, so CRM 197’s sudden abundance could push that number even higher. However, it’s important to remember that vaccines are only as effective as their storage methods: allowing the vaccine to fall out of its ideal range results in the breakdown of the virus held within, reducing efficacy.
Most conjugate vaccines need to be refrigerated and kept between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, so only constantly monitored and regulated laboratory refrigerators and medical grade refrigerators are permitted. Laboratory freezers and pharmaceutical freezers are absolutely out of the question, although a vaccine refrigerator freezer may be the best option, as they offer a two-fer. The accessibility of this protein means that conjugate vaccines will become easier to obtain, so your lab should get a vaccine refrigerator freezer ASAP in preparation.