The research, conducted with the University of Washington, was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nature Partner Journals (NPJ) Vaccines.
Lumen pioneered genetic engineering methods to highly express bioactive proteins in spirulina. The company said the research findings details how this platform was used to express a malaria protein antigen that can be delivered intranasally and later boosted with a simple oral booster. Treated mice demonstrated protection against subsequent malaria challenge, added the biologics company.
The low cost and scalability of this production platform, coupled with easy, needle-free administration, could greatly expand real-world access to malaria vaccines, continued Lumen.
The use of edible spirulina as a malaria vaccine platform offers a new approach to vaccine development at scales, costs, and delivery that could greatly improve access compared with traditional vaccination approaches, according to Jim Roberts, co-founder and CSO at Lumen Bioscience.
Senior author of the paper, Sean Murphy, who is associate professor at the University of Washington and clinical investigator at the Seattle Malaria Clinical Trials Center, commented on the findings: “Tremendous progress has been made in the field of recombinant malaria vaccines, but real-world access remains challenging due to infrastructure and supply chain limitations and to cost sensitivity in most regions where malaria is endemic. This new approach may help overcome those concerns.”
Mark Heinnickel, principal scientist at Lumen, participated in a webinar on BioPharma-Reporter in May this year where he provided insights into that Seattle-based company’s efforts to optimize therapeutic protein production in spirulina, and how such a platform is providing a way to rapidly produce mass quantities of biologic drugs for common diseases that currently lack effective treatments.
Lumen’s clinical pipeline also includes investigational biologic drugs for C. difficile infection, inflammatory bowel disease, Covid-19, cardiometabolic disease, norovirus, and traveler’s diarrhea.