EDUFLUVAC workshop: “Four years of European research on the development of universal influenza vaccines: what have we learnt, and how can we move forward?”

The third and last EDUFLUVAC workshop focusing on the latest achievement in Europe towards the development of a new generation of improved, long lasting and broadly protective influenza vaccines, successfully took place on 12-13 June at the House of Dutch Provinces, Brussels, Belgium. This workshop was organised in close collaboration with two other European Union (EU)-funded consortia, UNISEC and FLUTCORE.

Representatives from the five EU-funded consortia aiming at developing broadly reactive influenza vaccines met to discuss the products and technologies developed, and to present the results of their research to stakeholders and several funding organisations. The workshop provided a great opportunity to discuss what has been achieved, what can be saved/maintained after the projects come to an end and how to strengthen the European vaccine development landscape.

The vaccine development pipeline in Europe is well populated with promising vaccine candidates from the preclinical stage all the way to comparative proof-of-concept clinical trials. Furthermore, the five EU consortia have developed successful technology platforms, to allow smooth process development and GMP production, and have created an efficient clinical development infrastructure.

The European influenza community agreed that building on the existing consortia and knowledge generated by creating a common portfolio management would greatly increase the chance of success to bring the products further into the pipeline of vaccine development. The community will have to work together to:

  • Define the Preferred Product Characteristics for broadly reactive influenza vaccines
  • Agree on the go-no go criteria for selecting, assessing and advancing vaccine candidates
  • Propose a regulatory and clinical strategy
  • Put in place harmonization efforts (standards and assays) as well as comparative platform

WS3 group picture

Workshop participants

The EDUFLUVAC organising committee warmly thanks all participants of the workshop for their attendance and valuable contribution and the sponsors for the kind support.

Scientific Organising Committee members:
Claude Muller (LIH), Ed Remarque (BPRC), Ed Schmidt (RUG/UMCG), Flavia D’Alessio (EVI), Norbert Stockhofe (CVI), Othmar Engelhardt (NIBSC), Odile Leroy (EVI), Sophie Houard (EVI).

Agenda and list of participants

Presentations:

Introduction to the workshop / The European landscape on the development of universal flu vaccines: what can be done next? / Othmar Engelhardt (NIBSC)

Session 1: Overview from the five projects on universal flu vaccines funded by the EC FP7 programme

- EDUFLUVAC / Odile Leroy (EVI)

- FLUTCORE / Alex Ramirez (iQur)

Session 2: Products developed

- Flu Eradication? Yes! BiondVax’s universal flu vaccine / Joshua Phillippson (BiondVax)

- FLU-v, a broad spectrum influenza vaccine / Olga Pleguezuelos (SEEK)

Session 3: Technologies developed

- Lessons learnt on producing and purifying over thirty different VLPs for a “universal” influenza vaccine / Antonio Roldao (iBET)

- Strategies for bioconjugation and presentation of antigenic/adjuvant material / Nicola Tirelli (University of Manchster)

- The UNISEC toolbox: vaccine formulation, adjuvants and preclinical evaluation / Dennis Christensen (SSI)

- Multiparametric analysis of T-cell responses to vaccination / Steven Norley (Robert Koch Institute)

- Challenges in comparative phase 2 universal influenza vaccine trials / Eelko Hak (University Groningen)

Session 5: Regulatory requirements for universal flu vaccines

- Perspective from the regulatory authorities in Europe / Marco Cavaleri (EMA)

- Perspective from the regulatory authorities in US / Jerry Weir (FDA)