Enhanced production of VLPs

Virus-like particles (VLPs) are multiprotein structures that mimic the organization and conformation of authentic native viruses but lack the viral genome, potentially yielding safer and cheaper vaccine candidates. Over the past decade it has been increasingly recognized that these structural features of VLPs can be exploited to create new vaccine manufacturing platforms but enhanced production of VLPs can be problematic.

How did the facility help?

New molecular approaches were incorporated into the design of the viral S subunit involved in the assembly of hepatitis B VLP, together with a Flag tag for immunopurification of soluble VLPs from scale-up cultures.


We have established a rapid, stable and versatile platform to produce VLPs for animal trials. Protein engineering has led to better particle stability, higher productivity (100-fold), the ability to display a wide range of antigens on VLP surfaces and thus the potential to fine-tune immune responses. We used a highly expressing vector and a Flag affinity tag allows easy scale-up and purification, essential for a scalable process.


NBF is a $30 million facility, composed of laboratories, clean rooms and state-of-the-art equipment housed at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland (UQ), and at the CSIRO Manufacturing Flagship in Victoria. Together, the NBF is managed by a team of expert scientists and bioprocess engineers with world-class experience in mammalian, insect, bacterial and yeast cell line development, GLP/ISO9001/GMP manufacturing in pharmaceutical development. Equipped with a variety of bioreactors, including stirred tank and single-use disposable bioreactors, ranging from 1L to 150L capacity, the facility is capable of processing large quantities of biologics material through its specialised downstream processing equipment.

NBF services external clients in the areas of antibody discovery and engineering, mammalian cell line generation, upstream production, downstream processing development as well as protein analytics. Sterile fill capability to assist pre-clinical and clinical trial is also supported.

National Biologics Facility Victoria Node