Emergex Completes First Step in the Development of a Vaccine Candidate Against Intracellular Bacterium and Bioterrorist Agent Francisella Tularensis

  • MHC-1 CD8 ‘ligandome library’ of F. tularensis epitopes successfully generated
  • F. tularensis recognized as high priority pathogen by the US government
  • Proof of principle of Emergex’s technology beyond viral pathogens

Abingdon, UK, 12 December 2019 –Emergex Vaccines Holding Limited (‘Emergex’), a biotechnology company developing set-point vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases, today announced it has successfully completed the first step in the development of a candidate vaccine for the Gram-negative intracellular coccobacillus, Francisella tularensis. Specifically, Emergex has successfully generated a 1st generation human specific MHC-Class I CD8 peptide ligandome library for F. tularensis for the most commonly occurring human alleles. The library contains encrypted peptide data to instruct the immune system to alter the initial set-point of response on first exposure and potentially reduce disease severity but still allow natural immunity to provide long term protection. Emergex vaccines, that are self-adjuvant, also potentially limit or eliminate allergic, autoimmune or antibody-mediated side effects of traditional vaccines.

This is the first time that Emergex’s technology has been successfully applied in the creation of a bacterial vaccine candidate, a significant milestone, which will enable the growth of its pipeline and development of other intracellular bacterial vaccines in the future.

Emergex’s technology has already been successfully used in the development of the Company’s current vaccine candidates which includes viral vaccines for Dengue Fever and potentially other flaviviruses, pandemic and seasonal Influenza (flu) and filoviruses such as Ebola virus.

F. tularensis is a highly virulent bacterial pathogen and considered a potential bioterrorist agent and is categorized as a Tier 1 priority by the US government alongside Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax)1. Due to its low infectious dose and ease of spread, the bacterium is particularly well-suited to aerosol biowarfare attacks. Infection with F. tularensis is the cause of tularemia, which can be lethal without immediate treatment. As such, the impact of an outbreak could be devastating. Three cases have been reported in the United Kingdom in the last decade2.

No approved vaccine for F. tularensis currently exists, though an experimental live attenuated vaccine is currently employed for emergency prophylactic use only, e.g. for managing potential exposures to personnel working in high-risk laboratories using the bacterium.

Professor Thomas Rademacher, CEO and co-founder of Emergex, commented, “This is the first proof of principle that our technology can be applied to intra-cellular bacteria, expanding our capabilities beyond our current pipeline of viral pathogens. The potential this holds for our development portfolio is significant and now provides us the option to explore other high priority bacteria pathogens – such as antibiotic-resistant ‘super’ gonorrhea which is an intracellular bacterial pathogen of rising concern.”


  1. US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/tularemia/
  2. Public Health England Infectious Diseases Strategy 11 September 2019 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-health-england-launches-new-infectious-disease-strategy

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Notes To Editors

About Emergex Vaccines Holdings Limited

Emergex Vaccines Holdings Limited, a UK-based biotechnology company headquartered in Abingdon, UK, is pioneering the development of set-point vaccines to address some of the world’s most immediate health threats such as Dengue Fever, Zika, Ebola, pandemic flu and serious intra-cellular bacterial infections.

These set-point vaccines are population based and modify the initial immune status of recipients in a way that ‘primes’ their immune systems to recognise subsequent infectious agents much like a natural infection would do, preventing an acute or severe manifestation of the disease.

Emergex combines validated technologies together with the very latest scientific insights to develop its vaccines, including using synthetic peptide codes determined on actual infected cells and using a proprietary gold nanoparticle carrier system for programming.

The Company has a growing pipeline of vaccine candidates. The most advanced development programme is a vaccine for Dengue Fever, which may also be disease modifying for other Flaviviruses such as the Zika and Yellow Fever viruses. Emergex also has programmes in development for a universal Influenza vaccine and a universal Filovirus vaccine (including viruses such as Ebola and Marburg) and discovery programmes for a Yellow Fever Booster vaccine and a Chikungunya vaccine.

Find out more online at www.emergexvaccines.com and connect with us via Twitter @EmergexVaccines.

Media Contacts:

Instinctif Partners

Ashley Tapp / Genevieve Wilson

Phone: +44 (0)20 7457 2020

Email: Emergex@instinctif.com