Antigen / Immunogen Discovery and Optimization

Solutions for immunogen discovery and vaccine development

Vaccine development workflows vary widely depending upon the platform (e.g. inactivated virus vs. DNA vaccine) chosen, each having its own advantages. CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and many other organizations promote such diverse approaches during a pandemic in order to increase the likelihood of success against the infectious agent.

In this video, Justin Dranschack, manager, BioPharma platform, reviews our workflow solution for vaccine development using recombinant proteins as the immunogen, and references the systems to aid in your research.

Immunology and Vaccine Development Workflow

Antigen / immunogen discovery workflow


Vaccine development workflow


Step 1: Screen for binding to virus-specific antibody

Phage display is a powerful in vitro method that can be used to screen millions of antibodies against viral antigens, which are then considered as potential vaccine candidates.

Step 2: Immunogen characterization

Immunogenicity studies are conducted to determine whether the antigens identified in the previous step will initiate an immune response, since phage display only screens for antigen-antibody binding. If the antigen evokes an immune response (often measured by an ELISA), the antigen, now considered an immunogen, will move forward. Additional immunogen characterization is used to engineer desirable properties into the immunogen in the next stage.

Step 3: Protein (immunogen) engineering

Some properties of immunogens are known to cause undesirable effects when injected into animals or humans. Therefore, genetic engineering tools like CRISPR/Cas9 are used to manipulate the DNA encoding the immunogen so that they no longer possess those properties.

Step 4: Cell transfection and cloning

Once the DNA has been optimized, it is necessary to scale up the production of the immunogen for further testing. At this stage, it is critical to generate a high expressing, clonally derived cell line. This process often involves genetic engineering techniques described above along with single cell cloning into microwell plates, particularly if using mammalian cell lines.

Step 5: Screen for quality attributes including titer

Following single cell cloning, cell lines are monitored for growth and assessed for protein expression. The immunogen is then purified and prepared for injection into an animal in order to induce an immune response. Antibodies generated from the animal are then screened in a virus neutralization assay to determine vaccine efficacy.


Systems to accelerate your COVID-19 research

Get up and running rapidly with proven technologies

Molecular Devices is able to support your research needs by offering technology and solutions rapidly with express processing, shipping and customized finance solutions if needed on microplate readers, biopharma and cellular imaging systems.

ImageXpress Pico Automated Cell Imaging System

Our ImageXpress systems offer an end-to-end solution for high-content screening and analysis. All our systems support a wide range of applications, increased throughput, and streamlined workflows.

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SpectraMax i3x Multi Mode Microplate Reader

Our SpectraMax® series of microplate readers measure absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence plus additional detection modes with available upgrades for western blot, cell imaging, and fast kinetics with injectors. GMP/GLP labs can meet FDA guidelines with our SoftMax Pro GxP compliance and validation solution.

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Softmax Pro Gxp Software

SoftMax® Pro 7.1.1 GxP Software is the latest, most secure software to achieve full FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliance with streamlined workflows to ensure data integrity. Every step is optimized to simplify analysis and reporting to support our microplate readers.

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QPix 420 Microbial Colony Pickers

The QPix™ 400 Series Microbial Colony Pickers combine intelligent image analysis with precise automation for fast and efficient screening of large libraries. Capable of picking up to 3000 colonies per hour, it will streamline your workflow.

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ClonePix 2 Mammalian Colony Picker

The ClonePix™ 2 Mammalian Colony Picker is a fully automated system for the selection of high-value clones used in antibody discovery and cell line development.

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The CloneSelect™ Single-Cell Printer™ Series deposits single cells gently and with high efficiency using a patented, inkjet-like disposable, one-way dispensing cartridge.

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CloneSelect Imager

The CloneSelect™ Imager is a high-throughput automated solution for imaging and analyzing mammalian cells.

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AquaMax Microplate Washer

Our washers provide speed and configurability options—from single-tube dispensing to washing full 96- and 384-well plates.

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Resources related to COVID-19 cellular responses and vaccine development

Here we highlight a few key application notes to support your COVID-19 research. For a complete list of common applications in infectious diseases including cell line development, binding affinity, viral neutralization, viral titer, view our Coronavirus Vaccine Research page.

Videos & Webinars

Immunology and Vaccine Development Workflow

Immunology and Vaccine Development Workflow

Systems to accelerate your COVID-19 cellular response and vaccine development

We have validated and compliant laboratory solutions including microplate readers, microplate washers, biopharma and cellular imaging systems to meet your research needs.