Vaccine Formulation Laboratory
Adjuvants are increasingly used by the vaccine community. Vaccine adjuvants are essential components of modern vaccines, particularly for their ability to enhance and bias immune responses and for their dose-sparing properties. Unfortunately, the knowledge on how to access, down select, and formulate adjuvants is not readily available to the majority of vaccine research groups. This shortcoming led the World Health Organization to promote the establishment of the Vaccine Formulation Laboratory (VFL) at the University of Lausanne (UNIL), in January 2010. Since then, the VFL acts as a Centre of Expertise for adjuvants and formulations with the following main strategies:

  1. formulation studies, including optimization of adjuvanted vaccine candidates, stability studies, development of analytical methods to characterize antigen-adjuvant combinations;
  2. preclinical evaluation of adjuvanted vaccine candidates, including immunogenicity studies in various animal models;
  3. technology transfer of methods, protocols, procedures on manufacture and QC of modern adjuvants;
  4. training on vaccine-adjuvant formulation and characterization, through both theoretical and practical courses.

VFL’s contribution to TBVAC2020
As partner of TBVAC2020, the VFL will lead the adjuvant and formulation platform of the consortium. The VFL will offer services to optimize and characterize formulations of TB vaccine candidates with different adjuvants. The VFL will also perform in vivo head to head studies to compare the immunogenicity of different adjuvanted TB vaccine formulations from the TBVAC2020 consortium.

VFL key personnel involved in TBVAC2020

  • Dr Nicolas Collin: Head of the Vaccine Formulation Laboratory at UNIL since 2010. Previously worked as coordinator of WHO vaccine task force during the pandemic influenza (H1N1) in 2009, and as project leader for the veterinary vaccine industry. Nicolas Collin is in charge of the general and scientific management of the VFL.
  • Dr Livia Brunner: Expert in adjuvant manufacturing and formulation of adjuvanted vaccines. Livia Brunner works since 2010 at the Vaccine Formulation Laboratory at UNIL and manages since then the VFL’s portfolio of adjuvants, including development of procedures for manufacturing of adjuvants and analytical methods for evaluation of adjuvanted vaccine formulations.
  • Dr Christophe Barnier-Quer: Expert in adjuvant immunology and formulation of adjuvanted vaccines. Christophe Barnier-Quer joined the Vaccine Formulation Laboratory in 2012 and is since then responsible for and the VFL’s preclinical activities, including in vivo immunogenicity studies for evaluation of adjuvanted candidate vaccines in various animal models.
  • Dr Maria Lawrenz: Project Manager with experience in EU and international projects. Works for the Vaccine Formulation Laboratory at UNIL since 2011 and is heading the training unit since then. Maria Lawrenz has managed several European infrastructure projects, such as TRANSVAC, ADITEC, EURIPRED as well as international projects, including the Global Health Vaccine Accelerator Platform from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Key publications:

  • Varypataki E.M. et al. (2016) Synthetic long peptide-based vaccine formulations for induction of cell mediated immunity: A comparative study of cationic liposomes and PLGA nanoparticles. Journal of Controlled Release. 2016 Mar 28;226:98-106.
  • Poecheim J et al. (2015) Nanocarriers for DNA Vaccines: Co-Delivery of TLR-9 and NLR-2 Ligands Leads to Synergistic Enhancement of Proinflammatory Cytokine Release. Nanomaterials 2015, 5(4), 2317-2334.
  • Geels, MJ., et al. (2015). TRANSVAC research infrastructure – Results and lessons learned from the European network of vaccine research and development. Vaccine pii:S0264-410X(15)00136-X.
  • Misstear K, et al. (2013). Targeted nasal vaccination provides antibody independent protection against Staphylococcus aureus. J Infect Dis. 2013 Nov 22.
  • Heuking, S., et al. (2013). Fate of TLR-1/ TLR-2 agonist functionalized pDNA nanoparticles upon deposition at the human bronchial epithelium in vitro. Journal of Nanobiotechnology 2013, 11:29
  • Collin, N. (2013) Modern Vaccines/Adjuvants Formulation-Session 2 (Plenary II): May 15-17, 2013-Lausanne, Switzerland. Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics 9
  • Westdijk, J., P. Koedam, et al. (2013). Antigen sparing with adjuvanted inactivated polio vaccine based on Sabin strains. Vaccine 31(9): 1298-1304.
  • Ventura, R., L. Brunner, et al. (2013). Technology transfer of an oil-in-water vaccine-adjuvant for strengthening pandemic influenza preparedness in Indonesia. Vaccine 31(12): 1641-1645.
  • Heuking, S. and G. Borchard (2012). Toll-like receptor-7 agonist decoration enhances the adjuvanticity of chitosan-DNA nanoparticles. J Pharm Sci 101(3): 1166-1177.
  • Collin, N. and P. M. Dubois (2011). The Vaccine Formulation Laboratory: a platform for access to adjuvants. Vaccine 29 Suppl 1: A37-39.