JOURNAL ARTICLE

Pilot scale production of highly efficacious and stable enterovirus 71 vaccine candidates

Ai-Hsiang Chou, Chia-Chyi Liu, Cheng-Peng Chang, Meng-Shin Guo, Shih-Yang Hsieh, Wen-Hsueh Yang, Hsin-Ju Chao, Chien-Long Wu, Ju-Lan Huang, Min-Shi Lee, Alan Yung-Chi Hu, Sue-Chen Lin, Yu-Yun Huang, Mei-Hua Hu, Yen-Hung Chow, Jen-Ron Chiang, Jui-Yuan Chang, Pele Chong
PloS One 2012, 7 (4): e34834
22529942

BACKGROUND: Enterovirus 71 (EV71) has caused several epidemics of hand, foot and mouth diseases (HFMD) in Asia and now is being recognized as an important neurotropic virus. Effective medications and prophylactic vaccine against EV71 infection are urgently needed. Based on the success of inactivated poliovirus vaccine, a prototype chemically inactivated EV71 vaccine candidate has been developed and currently in human phase 1 clinical trial.

PRINCIPAL FINDING: In this report, we present the development of a serum-free cell-based EV71 vaccine. The optimization at each step of the manufacturing process was investigated, characterized and quantified. In the up-stream process development, different commercially available cell culture media either containing serum or serum-free was screened for cell growth and virus yield using the roller-bottle technology. VP-SFM serum-free medium was selected based on the Vero cell growth profile and EV71 virus production. After the up-stream processes (virus harvest, diafiltration and concentration), a combination of gel-filtration liquid chromatography and/or sucrose-gradient ultracentrifugation down-stream purification processes were investigated at a pilot scale of 40 liters each. Although the combination of chromatography and sucrose-gradient ultracentrifugation produced extremely pure EV71 infectious virus particles, the overall yield of vaccine was 7-10% as determined by a VP2-based quantitative ELISA. Using chromatography as the downstream purification, the virus yield was 30-43%. To retain the integrity of virus neutralization epitopes and the stability of the vaccine product, the best virus inactivation was found to be 0.025% formalin-treatment at 37 °C for 3 to 6 days. Furthermore, the formalin-inactivated virion vaccine candidate was found to be stable for >18 months at 4 °C and a microgram of viral proteins formulated with alum adjuvant could induce strong virus-neutralizing antibody responses in mice, rats, rabbits, and non-human primates.

CONCLUSION: These results provide valuable information supporting the current cell-based serum-free EV71 vaccine candidate going into human Phase I clinical trials.

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