New generation of mRNA-based vaccines


Orléans University

Key words

mRNA-based mucosal vaccines

Dendritic cells targeting

Infectious diseases


Neo-antigen synthesis

Key figures
  • Budget : 5 M€
  • Duration : 4 years (2023 – 2027)

Recent achievements of messenger RNA (mRNA)-based vaccines against SARS-Cov2 have validated the therapeutic potential of mRNA and lipid nanoparticle-based formulations. However, these vaccines have limitations proven.

RNAvac project aims to overcome the limitations of those vaccines proven by the short duration of the induced immune response requiring frequent boosters and their ineffectiveness to prevent infections and block the diffusion of pathogens in vaccinated subjects by the development of disruptive/innovative technologies to create a new generation of mRNA vaccines.

To meet this challenge, a consortium of 11 academic laboratories has been structured to develop high-level interdisciplinary research to accelerate the production of innovative vaccines for future viral outbreaks and for mucosal cancers with unmet medical needs. RNAvac partners have internationally recognized expertises in mRNA design and production, vectorization and in vivo delivery of macromolecules, innovative vaccine strategies against cancer or infections, inhibition of the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay to promote the synthesis of neo-antigens, fine dissection of the immune response and in vivo therapeutic models. All these skills are essential to propose innovation and to master the reactivity of mRNA vaccines, which is still very poorly understood and addressed at present.

The groundbreaking elements that will be brought by RNAvac are: original vaccine formulation approaches with more efficient and less costly bioproduced mRNAs, a new way to improve mRNA stability, mucosal administration of mRNA vaccines and dual targeting of RNA/antigen to dendritic cells to favor memory immune response after vaccination.

The consortium is backed by several national infrastructures (LabEx immuno-oncology and MAbimprove, GDR RNA & GDR Biomimetisme, ART-ARN) and a network of start-ups and companies that will enable technology transfer for industrialization.

In conclusion, RNAvac project is fully in line with France’s ambition to position itself at the forefront of biotherapy and bioproduction technologies. In 4 years’, time, we expect to build a very strong and competitive expertise on mRNA vaccines and mRNA in general as biotherapies.

Coordinating partner : US55 ART-ARNm
Orléans University
Co-Coordinating partner : U970 Eq 10
Inserm – Université Paris Cité University
Georges Pompidou European Hospital (HEGP)
Co-Coordinating partner :  UMR 1098
Inserm – EFS – Franche Comté University
Interactions Host-Graft-Tumour & Cell and Gene Engineering
UMR 5305
CNRS – Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University
Tissue Biology and Therapeutic Engineering Laboratory (LBTI)
UMR 7242
CNRS – Strasbourg University
Strasbourg School of Engineering in Biotechnology (ESBS)
UMR 3666 – U 1143
CNRS – Inserm – Institut Curie
Cellular and Chemical Biology Unit
Inserm – Tours University
Center for the Study of Respiratory Pathologies (CEPR)
UMR9020 – U1277
CHU Lille – CNRS – Inserm – Lille University
CANTHER – Cancer Heterogeneity, Plasticity and Resistance to Therapies
UMR8258 – U1267
CNRS – Inserm – Paris Cité University
Unit of Chemical and Biological Technologies for Health (UTCBS)
UMR 3523
CNRS – Institut Pasteur
Chem4Life – Chemistry for Life Sciences
UMR 7355
CNRS – Orléans University
Experimental and Molecular Immunology and Neurogenetics (INEM)