Taiga Biotechnologies’ expertise in the regulation of cytokine-dependent responses in lymphocytes and the regulation of immune function has enabled the company to pursue a novel approach to molecular advjuvants for use in improved vaccines against viral diseases and cancers. The operative principle for Taiga’s adjuvant is the transient relaxing of what is termed “immunological tolerance,” (a mechanism that prevents the immune system from targeting the host) thus allowing the development of antibodies to targets that are normally hidden from the antibody response. Taiga’s initial focus includes the use of this technology for improved vaccines against influenza and other viruses and with vaccines to combat cancers such as melanoma and leukemia.
An important challenge in vaccine design involves the selection of targets that are readily accessible to the immune system. For antiviral vaccines, a majority of such targets are highly variable and unless a vaccine can overcome this diversity, the virus can simply change its expression patterns, thus limiting vaccine effectiveness. Similarly, in cancers like melanoma, the specific challenges to vaccine design include the selection of antigens that are required for tumor cell maintenance as well as the ability for the immune system to respond to self-antigens expressed by the tumor cells.
Taiga has developed a proprietary molecular antigen TBI4000 that, in animal models, improves the response to antiviral or anti-melanoma vaccines through the simultaneous enhancement of immune function and the transient modulation of self-tolerance. Based on the transient modulation of specific growth gene(s) in lymphoid cells, Taiga’s TBI4000 adjuvant appears to accelerate vaccine responses, generate cross-reactive antibodies, and allow significant (100X) “dose-sparing”.