MIDGE® vector system
In biotechnology and genetic engineering, transport vehicles used for transferring nucleic acids (usually DNA) are known as vectors. This definition encompasses a wide variety of approaches such as viral vectors or plasmid vectors.
Vectors are frequently used to insert genetic material into specific cells. In the development of vaccines, this genetic material is the DNA of a pathogen or the antigen to a pathogen. This antigen is expressed in the target cells. The immune system can then develop an immune response against this antigen and therefore also against the pathogen, enabling it to fight the pathogen.
The vectors, as well as containing the genetic information needed to have an effect, also contain a multitude of other information. This information is needed, among other things, for the production or reproduction of vectors, such as resistance genes against antibiotics, and can bring about considerable disadvantages or unwanted side effects when used.
The minimalist approach by MOLOGEN AG
The MIDGE® technology platform (minimalistic immunogenically defined gene expression) developed by MOLOGEN AG is also classed as a DNA vector. Unlike other DNA vectors (plasmids, viruses), however, the MIDGE® vector contains only the information required for its actual activity. It is free from undesirable information that is only used for the manufacturing process. Its DNA structure is linear and firmly closed at both ends by single-stranded hairpin structures. This fact is responsible for the characteristic small size of these vectors. MIDGE® vectors are around 50-80% smaller than previous plasmid-based vectors and are even considerably smaller than viral vectors.
The MIDGE® vector system from MOLOGEN AG thus overcomes the disadvantages while at the same time providing the safety of other gene transfer and gene expression systems.
Impressive safety profile
Based on the experience gathered so far, MIDGE® vectors are non-toxic and non-inflammatory - even when administered in very high dosages. No immune reactions are triggered against MIDGE® vectors. Even more important, however, is the fact that the vector is not integrated into the patient's own genetic material. MIDGE® vectors therefore lead to an efficient and safe prophylactic or therapeutic gene expression.
MOLOGEN AG used MIDGE® vectors for the development of vaccines and for the genetic modification of tumor cells in the context of cell-based gene therapy against cancer. As part of the "Next Level" strategy the platform technology, together with all of the associated compounds, is set to be sold; a spin-off is conceivable as an alternative.
Smart MIDGE® vectors
Another outstanding property of the MIDGE® vectors is found in the fact that their hairpin structures can be chemically altered. Changes can be carried out with peptides, carbohydrates and many more. The resulting Smart MIDGE® vectors can, just like MIDGE® vectors, be customized and used in all different types of medical applications and for research. The most prominent representative of this unique class of DNA vectors is the MIDGE®-Th1 vector, which is particularly suited to the development of vaccines intended to trigger a cellular immune response. An immune response is required for the body's defense against intracellular pathogens such as viruses.