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Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing: Methods for Preparing Bacillus Anthracis Protective Antigen for Use in Vaccines

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National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service, DHHS.




The invention described below is owned by an agency of the U.S. Government and is available for licensing in the U.S. in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 207 to achieve expeditious commercialization of results of federally-funded research and development. Foreign patent applications are filed on selected inventions to extend market coverage for companies and may also be available for licensing.


Licensing information and copies of the U.S. patent applications listed below may be obtained by contacting Peter A. Soukas, J.D., at the Office of Technology Transfer, National Institutes of Health, 6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 325, Rockville, Maryland 20852-3804; telephone: 301/496-7056 ext. 268; fax: 301/402-0220; e-mail: A signed Confidential Disclosure Agreement will be required to receive a copy of the patent application.

Methods for Preparing Bacillus Anthracis Protective Antigen for Use in Vaccines

Joseph Shiloach (NIDDK), Stephen Leppla (NIDCR), Delia Ramirez (NIDDK), Rachel Schneerson (NICHD), John Robbins (NICHD)

DHHS Reference No. E-023-02/0 filed 09 Nov 2001

This invention relates to improved methods of preparing Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA) for use in vaccines. PA is a secreted, non-toxic protein with a molecular weight of 83 KDa. PA is a major component of the currently licensed human vaccine (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed, AVA). Although the licensed human vaccine has been shown to be effective against cutaneous anthrax infection in animals and humans and against inhalation anthrax in rhesus monkeys, the licensed vaccine has several limitations: (1) AVA elicits a relatively high degree of local and systemic adverse reactions, probably mediated by variable amounts of undefined bacterial products, making standardization difficult; (2) the immunization schedule requires Start Printed Page 3220administration of six doses within an eighteen (18) month period, followed by annual boosters; (3) there is no defined vaccine-induced protective level of antibody to PA by which to evaluate new lots of vaccines; and (4) AVA is comprised of a wild-type PA. It has been suggested that a vaccine comprising a modified purified recombinant PA would be effective, safe, allow precise standardization, and require fewer injections.

This invention claims methods of producing and recovering PA from a cell or organism, particularly a recombinant cell or microorganism. The invention claims production and purification of modified PA from a non-sporogenic strain of Bacillus anthracis. In contrast to other previously described methods, greater quantities of PA are obtainable from these cells or microorganisms. Specifically, a scalable fermentation and purification process is claimed that is suitable for vaccine development, and that produces almost three times more product than earlier-reported processes. This is accomplished using a biologically inactive protease-resistant PA variant in a protease-deficient non-sporogenic avirulent strain of B. anthracis (BH445). One of the PA variants described in the patent application lacks the furin and chymotrypsin cleavage sites.

The invention also relates to PA variants, and/or compositions thereof, which are useful for eliciting an immunogenic response in mammals, particularly humans, including responses that provide protection against, or reduce the severity of, infections caused by B. anthracis. The vaccines claimed in this application are intended for active immunization for prevention of B. anthracis infection, and for preparation of immune antibodies.

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Dated: January 15, 2002.

Jack Spiegel,

Director, Division of Technology, Development and Transfer, Office of Technology Transfer, National Institutes of Health.

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[FR Doc. 02-1613 Filed 1-22-02; 8:45 am]