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Development of a multi-step Improved Epidermis Specific Vaccine Candidate against HIV/AIDS
Framework programme:
Project number:
EC contribution:
€ 2,400,000
36 month
Starting date:
1st January 2007

Keywords: Vaccines; DNA Therapy; Epidermal Genetic Vaccination; HIV Infection and AIDS


More than 40 million people are currently infected with HIV1, mostly coming from developing countries resulting in an urgent need for effective and affordable treatment of HIV1 infections. The main objective of the project is to develop an efficient genetic vaccine candidate for therapeutic and preventative use against HIV/AIDS.

The vaccine planned, should be capable of inducing cell-mediated and humoral immunity against the virus and virally infected cells in different phases of the viral life-cycle.

DNA vaccines could fulfil these requirements if rendered more efficient. To this aim, a combination of complementary technologies by four SMEs will be used. The novel DNA vaccination technology will combine:

  1. The restricted expression of the multi-epitope/multivalent HIV antigens in specific cells of the epidermis
  2. A micro-needle array-based injection device for reproducible and efficient delivery into the epidermis
  3. The EPI-GTU® technology that allows strong and long-term expression using segregation/partitioning function of the Bovine papillomavirus type 1
  4. The plasmo-VLP® technology that allows an expression of the immunogens within and onto virus-like-particles
  5. The adjuvant effect of different cytokines.

The step-by-step combination of these technologies will be evaluated at the laboratories of the three academic partners by using state of the art methods.

The initial evaluation of vaccine efficacy will be performed on mice and pigs and will be ultimately validated in Cynomolgus monkeys. EPIVAC aims to conduct its preclinical development up to the GMP production phase. Testing of numerous vector batches will be aimed towards having enough suitable material ready for evaluation in clinical trials.

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