University of Oxford

The Jenner Institute is part of the University of Oxford. It was founded in November 2005 to develop innovative vaccines against major global diseases. Uniquely it focuses both on diseases of humans and livestock and tests new vaccine approaches in parallel in different species. A major theme is translational research involving the rapid early-stage development and assessment of new vaccines in clinical trials. The Institute is a partnership between the University of Oxford and the The Pirbright Institute and is the successor to the former Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research. The Institute comprises the research activities of over 30 Jenner Investigators who head leading research groups spanning human and veterinary vaccine research and development. Together the Institute Investigators comprise one of the largest non-profit sector research and development activities in vaccinology. Jenner Institute Investigators, through the support of many funders, are developing new vaccine candidates against major global infectious diseases. New vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis and HIV are currently in field trials in the developing world. Research is also underway on livestock vaccines against foot and mouth disease, avian influenza, bovine tuberculosis and other major causes of economic loss.

Role in the TRANSVAC project

The Jenner Institute (University of Oxford) will participate in three areas of TRANVAC2: Firstly, it will develop optimised viral vectors suitable for expressing antigens from a range of different diseases, to create novel vaccines. The vectors used are replication-incompetent Adenovirus or MVA (Modified Vaccinia Ankara), usually used in combination as a prime-boost dosing strategy. Both vectors induce high levels of antibody and T cell responses. Virally vectored vaccines expressing novel antigens will be provided as TNA activities. Secondly, the Jenner will develop its transcriptomics core facility to carry out RNAseq analysis of clinical samples (both blood and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid) from trials with novel TB, malaria and Ebola vaccines. Bioinformatics analysis is a particular strength at the Jenner, and will be offered as part of the TNA activities. Thirdly, the Jenner runs three vaccinology courses annually, two in Oxford and one in Africa. Places on the Oxford courses will be offered as part of the TRANSVAC2 training workpackage. The Oxford courses specialise in vaccine biomanufacturing, clinical development, and human/veterinary vaccinology.

Main staff involved in TRANSVAC

Professor Adrian Hill, Viral Vector Vaccines; Professor Helen McShane, Transcriptomics; Dr. Wendy Crocker, Vaccinology Training;

The Facility

The Viral Vector Core Facility produces recombinant virus-vectored vaccines for pre-clinical validation experiments and GMP starting material. The facility routinely produces human and primate Adenovirus (Ad) and MVA vectors and its capability will soon expand to include other viral vector backbones, such as adeno-associated virus (AAV). Virus-vectored vaccines are produced at high yields with appropriate QC, and are suitable for antigen screening in animal models. Services currently offered by the infrastructure: The facility currently produces MVA and human/primate Ad vectors for any external user who applies for the service on a fixed cost per virus basis. Services include the construction of new recombinant viral vectors, and bulking up existing vectors. QC includes virus titration, confirmation of identity, and sterility. The Transcriptomics Core Facility supports a systems biology approach in vaccine development focusing on the identification of transcriptomic correlates of vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy for a range of novel and licensed vaccines using PBMC or whole-blood and BAL fluid samples. Services include advice on sample selection and experimental design, design of protocols and templates, RNA extraction, quality assessment and amplification, and library construction for RNA sequencing. Bioinformatics services include data QC, outlier detection and general data management, and data analysis from platforms including Illumina or Affymetrix microarrays, RNA-Seq, SNP arrays, Exome-sequencing, ChIP-chips and CHIP-seq.

TNA or Training provided

1. The Jenner will provide up to 40 vectored vaccines as part of the TRANSVAC2 TNA activities, which will be GMP compliant if required. 2. The Jenner will provide RNAseq and/or bioinformatics analysis of pre-existing transcriptomics data for up to 200 samples from vaccine clinical trials. 3. The Jenner will provide 20 places on each of 3 courses: a) basic immunology, b) vaccine clinical development and biomanufacturing, and c) human and veterinary vaccinology.

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