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Mol Ther. 2014 Dec;22(12):2118-29. doi: 10.1038/mt.2014.133. Epub 2014 Jul 16.

A cationic nanoemulsion for the delivery of next-generation RNA vaccines.

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Novartis Vaccines, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Novartis Vaccines, Holly Springs, North Carolina, USA.
Novartis Vaccines, Siena, Italy.
1] Novartis Vaccines, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA [2] Current address: Hookipa Biotech AG, Helmut-Qualtinger-Gasse 2, Vienna, Austria.


Nucleic acid-based vaccines such as viral vectors, plasmid DNA, and mRNA are being developed as a means to address a number of unmet medical needs that current vaccine technologies have been unable to address. Here, we describe a cationic nanoemulsion (CNE) delivery system developed to deliver a self-amplifying mRNA vaccine. This nonviral delivery system is based on Novartis's proprietary adjuvant MF59, which has an established clinical safety profile and is well tolerated in children, adults, and the elderly. We show that nonviral delivery of a 9 kb self-amplifying mRNA elicits potent immune responses in mice, rats, rabbits, and nonhuman primates comparable to a viral delivery technology, and demonstrate that, relatively low doses (75 µg) induce antibody and T-cell responses in primates. We also show the CNE-delivered self-amplifying mRNA enhances the local immune environment through recruitment of immune cells similar to an MF59 adjuvanted subunit vaccine. Lastly, we show that the site of protein expression within the muscle and magnitude of protein expression is similar to a viral vector. Given the demonstration that self-amplifying mRNA delivered using a CNE is well tolerated and immunogenic in a variety of animal models, we are optimistic about the prospects for this technology.

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