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Publications (16)

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adequate protein solubility is an important prerequisite for development, manufacture, and administration of biotherapeutic drug candidates, especially for high-concentration protein formulations. A previously established method for determining the relative apparent solubility (thermodynamic activity) of proteins using polyethylene glycol (PEG) precipitation is adapted for screening and comparing monoclonal antibody (mAb) candidates where only limited quantities (≤1 mg) are available. This micro-PEG assay is used to evaluate various broadly neutralizing mAb candidates to HIV-1 viral spike (gp120 and gp41 glycoproteins). Using ∼1 mg of VRC01-WT mAb per assay, the precision of the micro-PEG assay was established. A series of 7 different broadly neutralizing mAbs to the HIV-1 viral spike proteins were compared by curve shape (%PEG vs. protein concentration), %PEGmidpoint determinations, and extrapolated apparent solubility values. Numerous formulation conditions were then evaluated for their relative effects on the VRC01-WT mAb. The PEGmidpt and apparent solubility values of VRC01-WT mAb decreased as the solution pH increased and increased as NaCl and arginine were added. A final optimization of the micro-PEG assay established that amounts as low as 0.1-0.2 mg can be used. Thus, the micro-PEG assay has significant potential as a relative solubility screening tool during candidate selection and early formulation development.
    Article · Jun 2016 · Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Importance: Antibody 10E8 could be used to prevent HIV-1 infection, if manufactured and delivered economically. It suffers, however, from issues of solubility, which impede manufacturing. We hypothesized that the physical characteristic of 10E8 could be improved through rational design, without compromising breadth and potency. We used structural biology to identify hydrophobic patches on 10E8, which did not appear to be involved in 10E8 function. Reversion of hydrophobic residues in these patches to their hydrophilic germline counterparts increased solubility. Next, clues from somatic variants of 10E8, identified by next generation sequencing, were incorporated. A combination of structure-based design and somatic variant optimization led to 10E8v4, with substantially improved solubility and similar potency versus the parent 10E8. The co-crystal structure of antibody 10E8v4 with its HIV-1 epitope was highly similar to that with the parent 10E8, despite 26 alterations in sequence and substantially improved solubility. Antibody 10E8v4 may be suitable for manufacturing.
    Article · Apr 2016 · Journal of Virology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus that causes severe arthralgia. The envelope of CHIKV is composed of 240 copies of two glycoproteins: E1 and E2. In this work, we have characterized the N-glycosylation patterns of CHIKV virus-like particles (VLPs), containing both E1 and E2 proteins, derived from mammalian and insect cells using hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) with fluorescence (FL) and mass spectrometry (MS) detection. While HEK293 derived CHIKV VLPs contain oligomannose, hybrid and complex glycans, VLPs derived from SfBasic predominantly contain oligomannose glycans. This strong host dependence of N-glycosylation pattern resembles other alphaviruses such as SINV. The VLPs from HEK293 and SfBasic, with significantly different N-glycosylation profiles, are valuable reagents enabling future in-depth correlation studies between immunogenicity and glycosylation. In addition, the characterization tools presented here allow one to monitor glycosylation during vaccine process development and ensure process consistency.
    Article · Apr 2016 · Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Passive immunization with HIV-1-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is being considered for prevention and treatment of HIV-1 infection. As therapeutic agents, mAbs could be used to suppress active virus replication, maintain suppression induced by antiretroviral therapy (ART), and/or decrease the size of the persistent virus reservoir. We assessed the impact of VRC01, a potent human mAb targeting the HIV-1 CD4 binding site, on ART-treated and untreated HIV-1-infected subjects. Among six ART-treated individuals with undetectable plasma viremia, two infusions of VRC01 did not reduce the peripheral blood cell-associated virus reservoir measured 4 weeks after the second infusion. In contrast, six of eight ART-untreated, viremic subjects infused with a single dose of VRC01 experienced a 1.1 to 1.8 log10 reduction in plasma viremia. The two subjects with minimal responses to VRC01 were found to have predominantly VRC01-resistant virus before treatment. Notably, two subjects with plasma virus load <1000 copies/ml demonstrated virus suppression to undetectable levels for over 20 days until VRC01 levels declined. Among the remaining four subjects with baseline virus loads between 3000 and 30,000 copies, viremia was only partially suppressed by mAb infusion, and we observed strong selection pressure for the outgrowth of less neutralization-sensitive viruses. In summary, a single infusion of mAb VRC01 significantly decreased plasma viremia and preferentially suppressed neutralization-sensitive virus strains. These data demonstrate the virological effect of this neutralizing antibody and highlight the need for combination strategies to maintain virus suppression.
    Article · Dec 2015 · Science translational medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: VRC01 is a broadly neutralizing HIV-1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) isolated from the B-cells of an HIV-infected patient. It is directed against the HIV-1 CD4 binding site and is capable of potently neutralizing the majority of diverse HIV-1 strains. This Phase 1 dose-escalation study in healthy adults was conducted at the NIH Clinical Center (Bethesda MD). Primary objectives were safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics (PK) of VRC01 intravenous (IV) infusion at 5, 20 or 40 mg/kg, given either once (20 mg/kg) or twice 28 days apart (all doses), and of subcutaneous (SC) delivery at 5 mg/kg compared to SC placebo given twice, 28 days apart. Cumulatively, 28 subjects received 43 VRC01 and 9 placebo administrations. There were no serious adverse events or dose-limiting toxicities. Mean 28-day serum trough concentrations after the first infusion were 35 and 57 mcg/mL for groups infused with 20 mg/kg (n=8) and 40 mg/kg (n=5) doses, respectively. Mean 28-day trough concentrations after the second infusion were 56 and 89 mcg/mL for these same two doses. Over the 5-40 mg/kg IV dose range (n=18), the clearance was 0.016 L/h and terminal half-life was 15 days. After infusion VRC01 retained expected neutralizing activity in serum, and anti-VRC01 antibody responses were not detected. The human mAb VRC01 was well-tolerated when delivered IV or SC. The mAb demonstrated expected half-life and pharmacokinetics for a human IgG. The safety and PK results support and inform VRC01 dosing schedules for planning HIV-1 prevention efficacy studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2015 British Society for Immunology.
    Article · Sep 2015 · Clinical & Experimental Immunology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background A novel, swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus was detected worldwide in April 2009, and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic that June. DNA vaccine priming improves responses to inactivated influenza vaccines. We describe the rapid production and clinical evaluation of a DNA vaccine encoding the hemagglutinin protein of the 2009 pandemic A/California/04/2009(H1N1) influenza virus, accomplished nearly two months faster than production of A/California/07/2009(H1N1) licensed monovalent inactivated vaccine (MIV). Methods 20 subjects received three H1 DNA vaccinations (4 mg intramuscularly with Biojector) at 4-week intervals. Eighteen subjects received an optional boost when the licensed H1N1 MIV became available. The interval between the third H1 DNA injection and MIV boost was 3-17 weeks. Vaccine safety was assessed by clinical observation, laboratory parameters, and 7-day solicited reactogenicity. Antibody responses were assessed by ELISA, HAI and neutralization assays, and T cell responses by ELISpot and flow cytometry. Results Vaccinations were safe and well-tolerated. As evaluated by HAI, 6/20 developed positive responses at 4 weeks after third DNA injection and 13/18 at 4 weeks after MIV boost. Similar results were detected in neutralization assays. T cell responses were detected after DNA and MIV. The antibody responses were significantly amplified by the MIV boost, however, the boost did not increased T cell responses induced by DNA vaccine. Conclusions H1 DNA vaccine was produced quickly, was well-tolerated, and had modest immunogenicity as a single agent. Other HA DNA prime-MIV boost regimens utilizing one DNA prime vaccination and longer boost intervals have shown significant immunogenicity. Rapid and large-scale production of HA DNA vaccines has the potential to contribute to an efficient response against future influenza pandemics.
    Full-text available · Article · Apr 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background The West African outbreak of Ebola virus disease has caused more than 8500 deaths. A vaccine could contribute to outbreak control in the region. We assessed a monovalent formulation of a chimpanzee adenovirus 3 (ChAd3)-vectored vaccine encoding the surface glycoprotein of Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV), matched to the outbreak strain. Methods After expedited regulatory and ethics approvals, 60 healthy adult volunteers in Oxford, United Kingdom, received a single dose of the ChAd3 vaccine at one of three dose levels: 1×10(10) viral particles, 2.5×10(10) viral particles, and 5×10(10) viral particles (with 20 participants per group). Safety was assessed over the next 4 weeks. Antibodies were measured on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and T-cell responses on enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISpot) and flow-cytometry assays. Results No safety concerns were identified at any of the dose levels studied. Fever developed in 2 of the 59 participants who were evaluated. Prolonged activated partial-thromboplastin times and transient hyperbilirubinemia were observed in 4 and 8 participants, respectively. Geometric mean antibody responses on ELISA were highest (469 units; range, 58 to 4051; 68% response rate) at 4 weeks in the high-dose group, which had a 100% response rate for T cells on ELISpot, peaking at day 14 (median, 693 spot-forming cells per million peripheral-blood mononuclear cells). Flow cytometry revealed more CD4+ than CD8+ T-cell responses. At the vaccine doses tested, both antibody and T-cell responses were detected but at levels lower than those induced in macaques protected by the same vaccine. Conclusions The ChAd3 monovalent vaccine against EBOV was immunogenic at the doses tested. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and others; number, NCT02240875 .).
    Full-text available · Article · Jan 2015 · New England Journal of Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Chikungunya virus—a mosquito-borne alphavirus—is endemic in Africa and south and southeast Asia and has recently emerged in the Caribbean. No drugs or vaccines are available for treatment or prevention. We aimed to assess the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a new candidate vaccine. Methods VRC 311 was a phase 1, dose-escalation, open-label clinical trial of a virus-like particle (VLP) chikungunya virus vaccine, VRC-CHKVLP059-00-VP, in healthy adults aged 18–50 years who were enrolled at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (Bethesda, MD, USA). Participants were assigned to sequential dose level groups to receive vaccinations at 10 μg, 20 μg, or 40 μg on weeks 0, 4, and 20, with follow-up for 44 weeks after enrolment. The primary endpoints were safety and tolerability of the vaccine. Secondary endpoints were chikungunya virus-specific immune responses assessed by ELISA and neutralising antibody assays. This trial is registered with, NCT01489358. Findings 25 participants were enrolled from Dec 12, 2011, to March 22, 2012, into the three dosage groups: 10 μg (n=5), 20 μg (n=10), and 40 μg (n=10). The protocol was completed by all five participants at the 10 μg dose, all ten participants at the 20 μg dose, and eight of ten participants at the 40 μg dose; non-completions were for personal circumstances unrelated to adverse events. 73 vaccinations were administered. All injections were well tolerated, with no serious adverse events reported. Neutralising antibodies were detected in all dose groups after the second vaccination (geometric mean titres of the half maximum inhibitory concentration: 2688 in the 10 μg group, 1775 in the 20 μg group, and 7246 in the 40 μg group), and a significant boost occurred after the third vaccination in all dose groups (10 μg group p=0·0197, 20 μg group p<0·0001, and 40 μg group p<0·0001). 4 weeks after the third vaccination, the geometric mean titres of the half maximum inhibitory concentration were 8745 for the 10 μg group, 4525 for the 20 μg group, and 5390 for the 40 μg group. Interpretation The chikungunya VLP vaccine was immunogenic, safe, and well tolerated. This study represents an important step in vaccine development to combat this rapidly emerging pathogen. Further studies should be done in a larger number of participants and in more diverse populations. Funding Intramural Research Program of the Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and National Institutes of Health.
    Article · Dec 2014 · The Lancet
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background The unprecedented 2014 epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has prompted an international response to accelerate the availability of a preventive vaccine. A replication-defective recombinant chimpanzee adenovirus type 3-vectored ebolavirus vaccine (cAd3-EBO), encoding the glycoprotein from Zaire and Sudan species that offers protection in the nonhuman primate model, was rapidly advanced into phase 1 clinical evaluation. Methods We conducted a phase 1, dose-escalation, open-label trial of cAd3-EBO. Twenty healthy adults, in sequentially enrolled groups of 10 each, received vaccination intramuscularly in doses of 2×10(10) particle units or 2×10(11) particle units. Primary and secondary end points related to safety and immunogenicity were assessed throughout the first 4 weeks after vaccination. Results In this small study, no safety concerns were identified; however, transient fever developed within 1 day after vaccination in two participants who had received the 2×10(11) particle-unit dose. Glycoprotein-specific antibodies were induced in all 20 participants; the titers were of greater magnitude in the group that received the 2×10(11) particle-unit dose than in the group that received the 2×10(10) particle-unit dose (geometric mean titer against the Zaire antigen, 2037 vs. 331; P=0.001). Glycoprotein-specific T-cell responses were more frequent among those who received the 2x10(11) particle-unit dose than among those who received the 2×10(10) particle-unit dose, with a CD4 response in 10 of 10 participants versus 3 of 10 participants (P=0.004) and a CD8 response in 7 of 10 participants versus 2 of 10 participants (P=0.07). Conclusions Reactogenicity and immune responses to cAd3-EBO vaccine were dose-dependent. At the 2×10(11) particle-unit dose, glycoprotein Zaire-specific antibody responses were in the range reported to be associated with vaccine-induced protective immunity in challenge studies involving nonhuman primates. Clinical trials assessing cAd3-EBO are ongoing. (Funded by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health; VRC 207 number, NCT02231866 .).
    Full-text available · Article · Nov 2014 · New England Journal of Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To effectively support the development of a Chikungunya (CHIKV) virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine, a sensitive and robust high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method that can quantitate CHIKV VLPs and monitor product purity throughout the manufacturing process is needed. We developed a sensitive reversed-phase HPLC (RP-HPLC) method that separates capsid, E1, and E2 proteins in CHIKV VLP vaccine with good resolution. Each protein component was verified by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-ToF) mass spectrometry (MS). The post-translational modifications on the viral glycoproteins E1 and E2 were further identified by intact protein mass measurements with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The RP-HPLC method has a linear range of 0.51-12μg protein, an accuracy of 96-106% and a precision of 12% RSD, suitable for vaccine product release testing. In addition, we demonstrated that the RP-HPLC method is useful for characterizing viral glycoprotein post-translational modifications, monitoring product purity during process development and assessing product stability during formulation development.
    Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Chromatography A
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus that infects millions of people every year, especially in the developing world. The selective expression of recombinant CHIKV capsid and envelope proteins results in the formation of self-assembled virus-like particles (VLPs) that have been shown to protect nonhuman primates against infection from multiple strains of CHIKV. This study describes the characterization, excipient screening, and optimization of CHIKV VLP solution conditions toward the development of a stable parenteral formulation. The CHIKV VLPs were found to be poorly soluble at pH 6 and below. Circular dichroism, intrinsic fluorescence, and static and dynamic light scattering measurements were therefore performed at neutral pH, and results consistent with the formation of molten globule structures were observed at elevated temperatures. A library of generally recognized as safe excipients was screened for their ability to physically stabilize CHIKV VLPs using a high-throughput turbidity-based assay. Sugars, sugar alcohols, and polyanions were identified as potential stabilizers and the concentrations and combinations of select excipients were optimized. The effects of polyanions were further studied, and while all polyanions tested stabilized CHIKV VLPs against aggregation, the effects of polyanions on conformational stability varied. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association J Pharm Sci.
    Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: [This corrects the article on p. e33969 in vol. 7.].
    Article · May 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    Dataset: Figure S2
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutralizing activity of a representative human serum (participant ID 13958) against rAd is shown. This serum contained high titers of neutralizing antibodies to Ad5, Ad5 F35 and Ad35 F5, with minimal Ad35 neutralizing antibodies. (PDF)
    File available · Dataset · Apr 2012
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    Dataset: Figure S1
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The titers of Nab to Ad5, Ad5 F35, Ad35, and Ad35 F5 were determined in HIV-infected participants in the placebo (n = 26) and vaccine group (n = 44). Geometric mean and 95% CI are shown in the background of Nab titers in each individual. (PDF)
    File available · Dataset · Apr 2012
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Step trial raised the possibility that uncircumcised men with pre-existing Ad5 neutralizing antibodies carried an increased risk of HIV infection after vaccination. Thus, understanding Ad seropositivity in humans is important to the development of an AIDS vaccine. Here, we analyze the impact of different Ad5-specific neutralizing antibodies on immune function and clinical outcome. Ad seropositivity in the Step trial volunteers was analyzed using chimeric rAd5/35 vectors to characterize their specificity for Ad5 fiber and non-fiber external (capsid) proteins. Immune responses and HIV seropositivity were correlated with the specificity of Ad5-neutralizing antibodies. Neutralizing antibodies induced by the vaccine in Ad5 seronegative subjects were directed preferentially to Ad5 capsid proteins, although some fiber-neutralizing antibodies could be detected. Pre-vaccination Ad5 serostatus did not affect the capsid-directed response after three vaccinations. In contrast, anti-fiber antibody titers were significantly higher in volunteers who were Ad5 seropositive prior to vaccination. Those Ad5 seropositive subjects who generated anti-capsid responses showed a marked reduction in vaccine-induced CD8 responses. Unexpectedly, anti-vector immunity differed qualitatively in Ad5 seropositive participants who became HIV-1 infected compared to uninfected case controls; Ad5 seropositive participants who later acquired HIV had lower neutralizing antibodies to capsid. Moreover, Ad35 seropositivity was decreased in HIV-infected subjects compared with uninfected case controls, while seroprevalence for other serotypes including Ad14, Ad28 and Ad41 was similar in both groups. Together, these findings suggest that the case subjects were less immunologically responsive prior to infection. Subjects infected during the Step trial had qualitative differences in immunity that increased their risk of HIV-1 infection independent of vaccination.
    Full-text available · Article · Apr 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Effective vaccines for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) will likely need to stimulate protective immunity in the intestinal mucosa, where HIV-1 infection causes severe CD4+ T-cell depletion. While replication-competent recombinant adenovirus (rAd) vectors can stimulate adenovirus-specific mucosal immunity after replication, oral delivery of replication-defective rAd vectors encoding specific immunogens has proven challenging. In this study, we have systematically identified barriers to effective gut delivery of rAd vectors and identified sites and strategies to induce potent cellular and humoral immunity. Vector-mediated gene transfer by rAd5 was susceptible to low-pH buffer, gastric and pancreatic proteases, and extracellular mucins. Using ex vivo organ explants, we found that transduction with rAd5 was highest in the ileum and colon among all intestinal segments. Transgene expression was 100-fold higher after direct surgical introduction into the ileum than after oral gavage, with rAd5 showing greater potency than the rAd35 or the rAd41 vector. A single immunization of rAd5 encoding HIV-1 gp140B to the ileum stimulated potent CD8+ T-cell responses in the intestinal and systemic compartments, and these responses were further enhanced by intramuscular rAd5 boosting. These studies suggest that induction of primary immune responses by rAd5 gut immunization and subsequent systemic boosting elicits potent antigen-specific gut mucosal responses.
    Full-text available · Article · Jun 2009 · Journal of Virology