In the study published in npj Vaccines, titled “Effect of mRNA-LNP components of two globally-marketed COVID-19 vaccines on efficacy and stability,” researchers led by Lizhou Zhang et al. from Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and UF Scripps Institute conducted a comprehensive analysis to compare key components of mRNA-LNP vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to understand their impact on mRNA delivery, protein expression, antibody production, and long-term stability. They found that Moderna’s ionizable lipid, SM-102, was more efficient than Pfizer-BioNTech’s ALC-0315 in mRNA delivery, resulting in higher protein expression and antibody production in mice. Additionally, they observed that sucrose enhanced mRNA-LNP delivery at 4°C and that LNPs stored at -80°C remained stable. The study also showed that specific UTR sequences from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna contributed differently to mRNA translation. Lastly, the wobble m1Ψ content had no significant impact on vaccine efficacy. These findings offer insights into optimizing mRNA-LNP vaccines for future applications.
They examined the ionizable lipids used in the LNPs. SM-102 was found to be more efficient than ALC-0315 for mRNA delivery, resulting in higher protein expression in mice. This suggests that SM-102 is a better ionizable lipid for intramuscular mRNA delivery. Next, they compared the immune response generated by ALC-0315 and SM-102 LNPs in mice. Both LNPs induced a similar inflammatory response, but SM-102 resulted in higher antibody production, especially neutralizing antibodies against the spike protein. This suggests that SM-102 may lead to enhanced antibody production, which is crucial for vaccine efficacy.
The study also examined the role of sucrose, a cryoprotectant in mRNA-LNP vaccines, in mRNA delivery. They found that sucrose enhanced mRNA delivery when LNPs were stored at 4°C, in addition to its cryoprotective role. This finding has implications for vaccine distribution in areas with limited access to ultra-cold storage. In terms of long-term stability, SM-102 LNPs were found to be more stable than ALC-0315 LNPs at 4°C for short-term storage, while both were stable for long-term storage at -80°C. This information is valuable for optimizing vaccine storage and distribution strategies.
The group also investigated the impact of untranslated regions (UTRs) and wobble m1Ψ content on vaccine efficacy. They found that specific UTR sequences from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna contributed differently to mRNA translation. Pfizer-BioNTech’s 5′ UTR promoted higher protein expression, while Moderna’s 3′ UTR led to lower expression. However, the wobble m1Ψ content at the wobble position did not significantly affect vaccine efficacy.
This research yields valuable insights into optimizing mRNA-LNP vaccines, emphasizing the significance of ionizable lipids, sucrose, UTR sequences, and stability factors in vaccine development and distribution. These findings enhance our comprehension of the elements influencing vaccine effectiveness and can guide future vaccine design and distribution strategies. At PackGene, we offer a range of LNP formulations, including those utilizing ionizable lipids such as SM-102 and ALC-0315 for efficient mRNA encapsulation and testing in animal or cell culture models. Additionally, our on-shelf fluorescent reporter gene mRNA facilitates initial testing, aiding you in identifying suitable ionizable lipid frameworks to kickstart your LNP formulation process. This accelerates the early stages of research and development in mRNA vaccine or therapeutics development, streamlining your path to success.
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Zhang, L., More, K.R., Ojha, A. et al. Effect of mRNA-LNP components of two globally-marketed COVID-19 vaccines on efficacy and stability. npj Vaccines 8, 156 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41541-023-00751-6
PackGene is a CRO & CDMO technology company that specializes in packaging recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors. Since its establishment in 2014, PackGene has been a leader in the AAV vector CRO service field, providing tens of thousands of custom batches of AAV samples to customers in over 20 countries. PackGene offers a one-stop CMC solution for the early development, pre-clinical development, clinical trials, and drug approval of rAAV vector drugs for cell and gene therapy (CGT) companies that is fast, cost-effective, high-quality, and scalable. Additionally, the company provides compliant services for the GMP-scale production of AAVs and plasmids for pharmaceutical companies, utilizing five technology platforms, including the π-Alpha 293 cell AAV high-yield platform and the π-Omega plasmid high-yield platform. PackGene's mission is to make gene therapy affordable and accelerate the launch of innovative gene drugs. The company aims to simplify the challenging aspects of gene therapy development and industrialization processes and provide stable, efficient, and economical rAAV Fast Services to accelerate gene and cell therapy development efforts from discovery phase to commercialization.
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