Identification of protective Chalmydia antigens using a novel technology

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Zoology


BBSRC funded research led to the discovery of a unique approach to identify antigens that confer protective immunity. This approach, known as Protecta Antigen Finding (PAF) allows discrimination of pathogen-derived antigens that mediate protection from the larger cohort that simply stimulate a response. PAF has stimulated significant interest within the vaccine industry, Seed Fund and Venture Capital sectors. To realise the commercial potential of PAF we have demonstrated PAF utility in vaginal Chlamydia infection. The key objective of this FOF application is to perform the next phase of PAF and identify the antigens that afford protection. A panel of new protective antigens against Chlamydia will provide a foundation for commercial exploitation via spin-out and/or licensing routes. The PAF project has a solid IP platform and has attracted a small amount of seed funding and developed a robust commercial and technical plan necessary to succeed in this competitive and high impact arena.


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Han Z (2016) The influence of age on Campylobacter jejuni infection in chicken. in Developmental and comparative immunology

Description The work in this grant has identified that we can use a process called Protecta Antigen Finding (PAF) to help identify antigens for use in vaccines. We have performed an analysis of the repertoire of B cells and T cells that associate with protection against vaginal infection with Chlamydia trachomatis in this system. Probably the most important aspect is that the PAF process is generally applicable to antigen identification in a wide range of infectious diseases that are proving challenging in terms of protective antigen identification. We have completed the TCR sequencing and are identifying patterns that associate with protection.
Exploitation Route We are continuing to work on the use of PAF as an antigen discovery system and are in discussion with other researchers to develop further funding opportunities to support this system. We succeeded in obtaining some funding from a fund within the University of Oxford and are continuing with our efforts towards antigen identification in the Chlamydia system.
We also continue to maintain the patent and are continuing in our search for commercial partners.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description The data collected during the project has supported the maintenance of a patent on the process of identification of antigens using the Protecta Antigen Finding platform. We have also developed further funding to support progress in this area.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Other
Impact Types Economic

Description Oxford Martin School
Amount £80,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Oxford 
Department Oxford Martin School
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 09/2016
Title Immune repertoire analyses (avian) 
Description We have developed systems for measuring the immune repertoire in chickens and use or are developing similar methodologies for use in a wide range of other species. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact A range of studies are underway. 
Title PAF 
Description The Protecta Antigen Finding methodology is the subject of a patent held at the University of Oxford. This method has the ability to identify protective antigens (from those that are simply responded to). This is a major issue in the vaccine industry. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Continuation of patent. On-going discussions with companies and collaborators interested in antigen discovery and vaccine development. 
Title immune repertoire analyses (general) 
Description We have developed systems for measuring the immune repertoire in chickens, mice and humans, we are developing similar methodologies for use in a wide range of other species. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Collaborations underway. 
Description A position sensor having a circular transmitter coil which generates electromagnetic radiation when excited by a source of alternating electrical energy. A receiver coil has a first loop wound in a first direction around a portion of the transmitter coil and a second loop wound in a second direction opposite from the first direction around a diametrically opposed portion of the transmitter coil. In addition the receiver coil includes a first compensating coil wound in the second direction inside the first portion of the transmitter coil as well as a second compensating coil wound in the first direction inside the second portion of the transmitter coil. The first and second loops and the first and second compensating coils of the receiver coil are electrically connected in series with each other. A movable coupler element varies the inductive coupling between the transmitter coil and the receiver coil as a function of the position of the coupler to thereby vary the electrical output signal from the receiver coil when excited by the transmitter coil. 
IP Reference WO2009074864 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2009
Licensed No
Impact This patent acts as a core patent for developing others with antigens identified from particular pathogens.