Reinventing Vaccines For The 21st Century

Founded in 2017, and based at Science Creates, Imophoron is a startup developing a next-generation vaccine platform for use on emerging infectious diseases. The platform is based on a single component of the human Adenovirus that spontaneously forms a superparticle: The ADDomer.

Infectious diseases continue to plague populations and rank among the
paramount causes for preventable death worldwide. Among the means
at our disposal to counter this threat, vaccination has proven to be
exceptionally powerful. Small-pox has been eradicated, measles, polio and
tetanus constrained from the world by vaccination.

Nonetheless, severe threats continue to challenge human health. Recent
dramatic examples include emerging viruses such as Chikungunya, Ebola
and Zika, which have been in the headlines as painful reminders that we
are constantly exposed to pathogens causing debilitating, potentially lethal
disease, for which we lack accessible vaccines.

Pandemic and endemic viruses represent a growing global threat with four
major drivers: Zoonotic, Deforestation, Global Warming and Urbanisation.
Furthermore, we face several challenges in Vaccine Development:

  • Slow response to new threats.
  • High costs and complex manufacturing process.
  • Low efficiency in sustaining protective immunity.
  • Deployment is difficult in often remote regions.
  • Long development times; large safety database.

"As the question of a virus coming to hit us is not if, but when. Our goal is to exploit the ADDomer technology in order to answer today’s challenges in vaccination.”

- Frederic Garzoni, Director of Imophoron

Imophoron’s ADDomer technology can provide the answers to these challenges. Imophoron exploits its technology to create several vaccine candidates to target a whole range of diseases and made a compelling proof of concept against Chikungunya (transmitted by the Tiger Mosquito) which was published in Science Advances.

"Viruses are waiting to strike, and we need to have the tools ready to tackle this global threat. Our vaccine candidate is easy to manufacture, extremely stable and elicits a powerful immune response. It can be stored and transported without refrigeration to countries and patients where it is most needed. Intriguingly, we can now rapidly engineer similar vaccines to combat many other infectious diseases just as well."

- Imre Berger, Director of the Max Planck-Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology

The ADDomer Platform

  • Library of ADDomers
  • Flexible design
  • Rapid identification of epitopes
  • Ideally suited for pandemic response


  • POC in SC, IM, Nasal
  • Multiple epitopes elicit high immunogenicity
  • No Adjuvant required
  • High potency

Existing Technology

  • Small batch size (Potency)
  • Easy to scale as required
  • Transferable
  • Existing recombinant process
  • No genetic material

Existing Technology

  • No cold chain-transport and in-use stability > 45°C
  • 3 routes of admin; sub cutaneous (SC), intra muscular (IM), nasal

The Imophoron team has been working tirelessly since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

“As soon as the pandemic hit we knew we had to redirect our research towards a COVID-19 vaccine. We believe that our platform can revolutionise vaccine development, and we couldn’t leave it on the shelf while this crisis was unfolding across the world. We’ve been working around the clock, our first vaccine candidates were ready for preclinical trials just weeks after the SARSCoV-2 genome sequence was released, which is unprecedented.”

A key advantage of the ADDomer is its incredible stability. Most vaccines have to be kept frozen (between -70°C and -20°C) or cold (between 4°C and 8°C) to remain effective. A power outage anywhere along that journey can break the chain and leave a vaccine unusable, but just one-tenth of the poorest countries’ health care facilities have reliable power supplies. Imophoron’s vaccines can be stored at room temperature as powders, so they don’t rely on the cold chain. This may make their vaccine easier to supply to low- and medium-income countries.

Imre Berger, Director of Bristol’s Max Planck Centre for Minimal Biology and cofounder of Imophoron, said: ‘We still have a long road ahead, but COVID-19 research is accelerating at a breathtaking pace. It usually takes a decade to deliver a vaccine, but so many barriers to innovation have fallen recently. Science always delivers: we have to keep working and hoping.’

“We have so much more to learn about SARSCoV-2, but during this crisis we’re seeing that when we focus and work together, we can expedite that process. It doesn’t hurt to have some good luck too! We’re grateful that we can contribute, and excited to find out what surprises the future holds.”

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