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Hercules shows promising vaccine adjuvant properties in a study conducted at Oxford

4 July 2019 – Pacific GeneTech (PGT), a biologics company that develops next-generation vaccine technologies, has just completed the second part of a mode of action study on their proprietary adjuvant “Hercules”, at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford. Hercules is a universal adjuvant and delivery system designed to deliver selected antigens to the immune system's antigen-presenting cells.


The first part of the mode of action study at the Dunn School revealed some important differences between the mannosylated chitosan-based Hercules and generic chitosan, including a superior immunogenicity in terms of DC and T cell activation. 


In the second part of the study, mechanistic insight into Hercules activity suggests that it preferentially induces a non-proinflammatory Th2-type adaptive immune response. This implies that it would be particularly useful in triggering antibody responses in the absence of deleterious inflammation, but less active at activating a Th1-type immune response leading to cytotoxic T cell activation. Thus, its use should be tailored to its immunological characteristics when designing vaccines, with particular utility in vaccines against bacteria and parasites. PGT uses Hercules to orally deliver both its inactivated Eimeria (apicomplexan parasite) and inactivated Salmonella vaccines. Hercules is available for out-licensing to other vaccine companies.

Vaccine adjuvants are immunological agents added to vaccines to provide a more robust and long-lasting immune response and protection. Per Research and Markets, the global vaccine adjuvant market is expected to reach US$1.4 billion by 2026 growing at a CAGR of 12.3% from 2018 to 2026.


About Pacific GeneTech

Pacific GeneTech (www.pacificgenetech.comdevelops and commercializes next-generation vaccines and biologics for areas of high unmet or underserved needs in food safety and animal health. PGT's proprietary "Aegis" vaccine platform combines cross-protective antigens and immunopotentiators in PGT vectors for broad spectrum protection against multiple strains and species of infectious diseases. The PGT vaccines can be administered orally or by injection in both live and inactivated forms. PGT's "Hercules" adjuvant/delivery system provides enhanced efficacy of inactivated and DNA vaccines, and its "Argo" yeast vector is a safe, flexible and robust carrier of immunogenic material.


PGT has out-licensed two of its leading poultry vaccines addressing economically important gastro-intestinal pathogens and has out-licensed its Hercules adjuvant for use in third-party vaccines. Vaccines for other pathogens and animal species are under development, including an experimental DNA vaccine for African Swine Fever. PGT is developing other applications for its Hercules adjuvant/delivery system and for the Argo vector. PGT, through its affiliate company, PGTx, has commenced programs with collaborators addressing human dysentery and related diseases, and malaria.

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