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Harnessing the innate and adaptive immune system with targeted neoantigen based cancer vaccines

Project description

Industry and academia come together to expedite delivery of personalised immunotherapy

Immunotherapy uses your body's own immune response to fight diseases like cancer, either by stimulating your immune system to work harder or by providing you with man-made immune system molecules. The immune system relies heavily on bioconjugates (two molecules stably linked together) like lymphocytes and fragments of pathogens (antigens). Bioconjugation is a flourishing field of research, both in the academic realm and in industry. The SPLITVAC project is integrating proprietary bioconjugation technology and extensive academic research expertise to streamline development of personalised anti-cancer therapeutics and vaccines. Exploiting tumour-specific antigens from mutated proteins only present on the tumour (neoantigens) should facilitate highly specific and personalised targets for anti-tumour immunity.


Immunotherapy for cancer has recently shown great clinical potential. However, only small percentages of patients do benefit from these therapies. The dual objective of the proposal is to understand and harness the immune system in vivo to develop truly personalized (individualized) anti-cancer treatments and to develop powerful bioconjugation technologies to generate new and better biotherapeutics. The project objectives will be achieved through the combination of ProteoDesign’s site-specific bioconjugation technology, with recent advances in the field of immuno-oncology, particularly the importance of tumor specific mutations (neoantigens), as drivers of anti-tumor immunity. The therapeutic candidates that will be obtained as a result of the project are personalized and have the potential to treat cancer at the individual level. These therapies are based on the mutational landscape of any given tumor, and so they could be applied to multiple cancer indications. The proposal will face specific challenges regarding the development of complex personalized bio therapeutics.
The project will be carried out through the collaboration of Dr. Vanhooren and Barcelona based biotech ProteoDesign. Dr. Vanhooren has extensive know-how and experience in the pre-clinical development of biologic-based drugs, and ProteoDesign has a proprietary technology for the discovery and development of new therapeutic bioconjugates. Through the present proposal bidirectional knowledge transfer will take place between the fellow and the host, thus enhancing know-how and skills on both sides. Dr. Vanhooren will be focused on leading the project, setting and adapting objectives, designing experiments, supervising the team and analyzing results. During the project and through a specific plan, ProteoDesign will provide Dr. Vanhooren experience and knowledge in key areas of biotechnology and pharma industries, as well as senior management, to allow her to grow into high responsibility positions.


Net EU contribution
€ 172 932,48
Baldiri reixac 10-12
08028 Barcelona

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Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 0,00