The MolecularBreeding™ Directed Molecular Evolution technology consists of two parts.

An in vitro homologous DNA recombination process (frequently referred to as “DNA Shuffling”) is used to create the libraries of chimeric genes expressing variant proteins. Specially designed vaccine screening technologies include a series of assays that efficiently and rapidly identify those immunogens best suited for a specific vaccine.

The active components of vaccines, called immunogens, are derived from pathogens. They almost always require modifications to turn them into safe and effective vaccines. Immunogens are generally comprised of proteins. While the study of protein modification is a staple of the biotechnology industry, it is a field without strong guiding principles that can be readily applied to vaccinology. The conventional rational design process for creating vaccines remains inefficient, requiring many years of basic research with a low likelihood of success.

Using the MolecularBreeding™ directed molecular evolution technology, Altravax scientists select optimized product leads from a library of candidates containing thousands of unique variants. This approach involves carrying out DNA recombination in a test tube among a number of genes encoding similar (“homologous”) proteins drawn from different pathogen strains. The result of this process is a large library, which  is screened by several approaches to identify the best candidates that meet the requirements of the vaccine being developed.

The MolecularBreeding™ technology provides a cost-and-time effective approach to vaccine development. In additional to its value in immunogen discovery, it can provide solutions to problems associated with vaccine manufacturing, stability, and toxicity. It is an unbiased high-throughput approach to vaccine development because it does not require a detailed understanding of what features are important for vaccine efficacy. The ability to screen large libraries of vaccine candidates for the requisite characteristics allows Altravax to find optimized immunogens.  An additional powerful feature of this technology is the opportunity to perform recursive rounds of recombination and screening to optimize the most important properties of an immunogen.