Tuesday, 20 February 2024 17:26

iAds: adenovirus vectors for vaccines and gene transfer

The consortium of 6 partners from 5 European countries will dedicate 4 years to develop an intelligent design of adenovirus vectors (iAds). The project aims to maximise the potential of adenovirus vectors for vaccines and gene transfer. The objective is to revolutionise gene transfer and generate solutions in areas of unmet medical need via a platform that exploits the full potential of adenoviruses. iAds aims to target specific cell types in the heart and brain to improve gene therapy efficacy and safety. The project will target neurodevelopmental disorders that primarily affect children (e.g., Dravet syndrome), neurodegenerative disorders that primarily affect the elderly (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease), and cardiovascular diseases that affect all ages.

Adenoviruses and gene therapy

While gene therapy is treating certain diseases, too many diseases have limited options because of our limited ability to deliver therapeutic cassettes to the right cells. Viral vectors have been developed stripped of their ability to cause disease and are used to deliver genetic material into cells for therapeutic purposes. Adenoviruses are particularly attractive because they can efficiently deliver DNA into both dividing and non-dividing cells. Funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC), iAds aims to overcome the limitations of adenovirus vectors, such as host immune responses and imperfect targeting. The consortium will design intelligent adenovirus vectors with a focus on heart- and brain-specific targeting, addressing areas of unmet medical need.

Our multi-faceted consortium proposes an innovative approach to overcome these limitations and to construct a pathway for developing improved vectors for clinical gene transfer. By synergising French, Dutch, British, Spanish, and Swedish expertise in structural biology, receptor engagement, neurobiology, cardiobiology, and bioprocessing, the consortium will create in silico designed intelligent adenovirus vectors (iAds). Our disruptive concept abandons the classical approach of developing vectors from naturally occurring adenoviruses. Instead, a proprietorial adenovirus type will be serially stripped of unwanted elements to create a bank of iAds, which will then be engineered for heart- and brain-specific targeting. The iAds consortium blends academic ingenuity and SME/pharma manufacturing that will allow seamless clinical translation.” says the project coordinator, Eric Kremer (IGMM – CNRS).

CSIC researchers at the National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC) will provide expertise in structural and computational biology to solve or model structures of adenoviruses and adenovirus proteins, alone or in complex with host cell factors. In this way they will contribute to the development of intelligent adenovirus vectors which is the main goal of iAds.

Participating institutions in the iAds project:

  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier (IGMM), Université de Montpellier – project coordinator
  • Batavia Biosciences BV, The Netherlands
  • Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV, The Netherlands
  • Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain
  • Umea University, Sweden
  • University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

For further information see the iAds website ( https://intelligentadenoviruses.eu/ )

This project has received funding from the European Innovation Council (Horizon Europe programme) under the grant agreement No 101098647.

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