February 13, 2024   |   News
Landmark peer-reviewed paper shows etherna LNP formulations for intramuscular injection combine the induction of strong immune responses with significantly reduced local reactogenicity and systemic distribution

This work paves the way for the design of mRNA vaccines to combat infectious diseases and cancers with enhanced efficacy and improved tolerability

Niel, Belgium – Feb 13, 2024 – etherna, a leading RNA technology company has announced the publication of a peer-reviewed paper in Advanced Functional Materials showcasing the strengths of etherna’s proprietary Lipid-based nanoparticle (LNP) platform.

The work, which was conducted in collaboration with the lab of Prof. De Geest at Ghent University, describes how delivery of mRNA-encoded antigens in LNPs comprising a novel class of ionizable lipids enhances the induction of antigen-specific immune responses while reducing undesired off-target expression in the liver, thereby minimizing the risk of adverse events.

The researchers compared the transfection ability and toxicity arising from the use of two different mRNA encapsulation materials, MC3 (which served as a benchmark) and etherna’s S-Ac7-DOG.

In mouse models, the team found that S-Ac7-DOG encapsulated mRNA demonstrated markedly higher transfection, lower reactogenicity, and higher accumulation in the vaccine-draining lymph nodes, tissues where immune responses against microbial antigens and tumor antigens are typically induced.

Hypothetically, any mRNA-based drug using S-Ac7-DOG as the lipid base would therefore have improved efficacy and a better safety profile. Eventually, these findings could lead to the development and subsequent delivery of highly efficacious, safe cancer vaccines and treatments, transforming oncology as we know it.

Stefaan De Koker, etherna’s Vice President, Technology & Innovation, describes the paper as a “landmark” for the company and its technology.
“The publication in Advanced Functional Materials demonstrates several key advantages of etherna’s mRNA and lipid nanoparticle offerings and, for the first time, demonstrates the two together. Whilst the currently published work focuses on the design of mRNA LNPs for more effective vaccines, we also have designed LNP platforms based on similar chemistries for the immune-silent delivery of mRNA to hematopoietic stem cells, macrophages, and hepatocytes, thereby extending the utility of our LNP platforms to hematological disorders, rare genetic diseases, and auto-immunity.
It is our view that mRNA therapies, when successfully deployed, could be used to save the lives of millions of patients worldwide,” he says. “As a company, we are now even better positioned to sign development agreements with large pharmaceutical companies who require additional assistance in bringing their own mRNA therapies to market.”

Kenneth Chien, Karolinska Institute Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Swedish Research Council added: “This study establishes the value of combining the design of custom LNPs ( cLNPs) with state-of-the-art mRNA chemistry based on the optimization of the 5’ and 3’ untranslated regions along with enhanced algorithms for codon optimization. The etherna paradigm for cLNP design is ushering in the rapid generation of novel families of delivery systems for not only vaccination but also for in vivo tolerization for a host of autoimmune diseases.”

About Advanced Functional Materials
Advanced Functional Materials is part of the Wiley family of scientific publications. Published weekly since 2013, the journal has an impact rating of 19 and focuses on articles that demonstrate advances in the chemical and physical properties of known materials.
Although Advanced Functional Materials’ most-cited articles focus on battery and semiconductor technology, its readers and submissions come from a broad range of backgrounds, including those from elsewhere in the materials science sector, physicists, engineers, biologists, and medical researchers.