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Brendan Wren


London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Organisation background

The LSHTM is an independent postgraduate university that undertakes research worldwide in public health, particularly relating to field trials.

Why we entered the Competition

We have developed a new vaccine platform technology that can make low cost recombinant glycoconjugate vaccines, such that they can be used in the veterinary field. 

We have previously researched on Brucella and have produced recombinant vaccines for testing.

The project team

There are 11 post doctoral scientist involved in developing glycoengineering for a range of glycoconjugate vaccines.

In 1999 Brendan Wren moved to the LSHTM and was awarded a chair in Microbial Pathogenesis. His primary research interest includes the molecular characterization of bacterial virulence determinants and the evolution of virulence. His research group exploits a range of post genome research strategies to gain a comprehensive understanding of how these pathogens function and how they interact with their respective hosts. He has authored over 350 scientific peer-reviewed publications. 

Current research focuses on glycosylation in bacterial pathogens and developing a “glycotoolbox” for glycoengineering. This basic research has enabled Wren and colleagues to develop glycoengineering in E. coli through a process termed Protein Glycan Coupling Technology (PGCT). The major application of this technology is the construction of affordable recombinant glycoconjugate vaccines. 

Infections caused by bacterial pathogens, especially antibiotic-resistant ones, are an ever-increasing public health threat and global problem. Glycoconjugate vaccines are among the most effective means in combating such infections. Glycoconjugate vaccine production using PGCT has enormous potential to make a significant impact on bacterial disease, both in humans and animals. To date, the technology has been used to produce novel recombinant Campylobacter,Shigella, S. pneumoniae, Francisella, E. coli and MRSA glycoconjugate vaccines. These have been shown to be protective and several are in clinical trials. 

To date, in order to develop a low-cost Brucella glycoconjugate vaccines we have coupled three key Brucella carrier proteins to the Brucella O-antigen. These vaccines have been purified, scaled up and are ready for testing. We are currently awaiting the opportunity to test these vaccines in mice and subsequently in host species.

Our technical approach

We use glycoengineering to clone combination glycoconjugates vaccines. This cloning approach produces an inexhaustible and renewable supply of vaccine, and at low cost.

We have 3 glycoconjugate vaccines to test. One consisting of both a brucella carrier protein coupled to a brucella O-antigen, one with a standard carrier protein coupled to a brucella O-antigen and one with a Coxiella carrier protein coupled to a brucella O-antigen for a potential dual Q fever/Brucella dual vaccine.


Additional information

We are seeking partners to test our glycoconjugate vaccines in small or large animal models for Brucellosis (and Q fever) and support the future development of our vaccine(s).