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Self-amplifying mRNA platform

Messenger RNA (mRNA)

DNA is the source code of life, it stores the instructions for protein synthesis. Proteins itself are the workhorses of our cells and carry out all crucial functions necessary for human life. To create proteins, our DNA is transcribed in messenger RNA (mRNA) which acts as an intermediary between the DNA located in the nucleus and the protein synthesis process located in the cell cytoplasm.

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Transcription

DNA

mRNA

Translation

Protein

mRNA-based vaccines use an mRNA sequence that codes for a disease-specific protein (antigen). This sequence is translated by the human body into the corresponding antigen and displayed on the cell surface where it is recognised by the immune system, preparing it to fight the real thing.  

Self-amplifying mRNA

Ziphius developed a self-amplifying mRNA platform to create mRNA-based vaccines. Next to the coding sequence of the antigen, these vaccines also include instructions for the RNA to copy itself. By administering this replication machinery, each mRNA sequence is copied several times before being translated. This platform offers multiple advantages over traditional vaccines and non-replicating mRNA vaccines. 

Low dose

Our self-amplifying mRNA platform showed to be more potent than current available mRNA vaccines. This allows administration of a lower dose for a similar immune response and/or for the use of a single-dose vaccination regimen.  

Broad immune response

Multiple mRNA sequences can be combined leading to a broad immune protection. Additionally, the replicating mRNA more closely mimics a natural viral infection, leading to a broad immune response. 

High flexibility and manufacturing efficiency 

Our platform is flexible and rapidly scalable, allowing for quick responses to large outbreaks of infectious diseases. With only minor changes to the underlying chemical structure, a new mRNA construct can be developed. This enables us to provide in-time and cost-effective solutions for new and existing pandemics. The platform allows us to use one single facility, resulting in low program-specific capital needs and thus significant capital efficiency over time. 

High tolerability and safety profile

Unlike DNA, mRNA does not have to enter the nucleus to be effective. Therefore, no risk of incorporation in the genome exists, thus providing a safer vaccine.