Schematic diagram of Layer-by-Layer self-assembly (LBL) for construction of nanofilms or Artificial Cells:

Artificial Cell Technologies, Inc. (ACT) is a development-stage biotechnology company developing unique synthetic vaccines utilizing a proprietary and patent-protected technology platform of ultra-thin multilayer polypeptide nanofilms.

ACT engineers and produces multilayer nanofilm-based vaccines using a method known as electrostatic layer-by-layer (LBL) self-assembly. Polypeptides with alternating opposite net electrical charge are assembled one layer at a time and adhere to the surface of a nano- or microparticle by electrostatic attraction. Key immunogenic epitopes from pathogenic organisms are incorporated into the nanofilm structure or on its surface during assembly. We call the resulting synthetic antigen carriers “Artificial Viruses”.
Polypeptide Multilayer Nanofilms  ACT designs polypeptides for use in LBL nanofilms to give the nanofilms specific structural and functional characteristics, such as film strength, stability, and immunogenicity. These engineered polypeptides are assembled into multilayer nanofilms using LBL. Polypeptides designed to be positively charged or negatively charged are deposited into a film one layer at a time. Adjacent layers adhere to each other by electrical charge interactions. When the film is formed on a flat surface, the result is a coating; when the film is formed on a spherical surface, the result is a particle or capsule.

Film Properties  The nanofilm fabrication process enables a high level of control over film and capsule properties such as size, thickness, porosity, permeability, density, surface charge, roughness, biological functionality, and integration and release rates of pharmacological agents.

Advantages  Use of polypeptides provides extensive control over the biological functionality of the nanofilms and Artificial Cells when compared to nanofilms and nano- and microparticles made using other kinds of polymers. ACT’s polypeptide nanofilms are made entirely synthetically, without use of animal or bacterial sources. This reduces the complexity of fabrication and the risk of product contamination. ACT’s structures are stable under a variety of harsh conditions and when lyophilized they can be stored at room temperature for years.

Advantages for Vaccines  Advantages of ACT’s technology for vaccines include:

  • Increases the immunogenicity of weakly or non-immunogenic antigens without the use of adjuvants
  • Reduces antigen dose required for immunization dramatically reducing cost of materials
  • Rapid synthetic manufacture with no egg or cell culture required, greatly reducing the chance of contamination and allowing a much faster time to market
  • Flexible design and production platform readily allows for multivalent or combination vaccines
  • Constructs are shelf stable at room temperature with a long shelf life; no cold chain storage required