US-based biotechnology company Omniose has signed a scientific collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca to research vaccines for serious bacterial diseases.

Both companies will work together to study potential vaccines for bacterial pathogens in AstraZeneca’s early Vaccines & Immune Therapies pipeline.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca will have exclusive rights to Omniose’s proprietary bioconjugation platform for up to three years.

The vaccine platform facilitates the creation of vaccines that combat various bacterial pathogens, including multidrug-resistant superbugs that were previously unmanageable through alternative means.

The platform is designed to allow the precise enzymatic attachment of bacterial polysaccharide antigens to designed carrier proteins within a single E. coli cell.

Omniose CSO and co-founder Christian Harding said: “Our synthetic biology platform is the broadest enzyme-based bioconjugation system enabling the transfer of virtually any bacterial polysaccharide to engineered carrier proteins.”

The biotechnology company said that conjugate vaccines are an effective form of immunisation. Their application is restricted because of the complex chemical procedure involved in binding bacterial polysaccharides to carrier proteins that have been specially designed.

In addition, bioconjugation considerably simplifies the manufacturing process and could result in a vaccine of greater quality compared to chemical conjugation.

Omniose is expanding the scope of bacterial vaccines using the already-established benefits of bioconjugation.

AstraZeneca early R&D vaccines and immune therapies vice president Mark Esser said: “As serious bacterial infections become increasingly resistant to commonly-used antibiotics, the development of alternative preventative interventions is critical.

“As part of our ambition to provide long-lasting immunity to millions of people, we are excited to enter into this scientific collaboration with Omniose to explore the role of this novel bioconjugate platform in developing vaccines for bacterial pathogens.”

Last month, AstraZeneca agreed to acquire US-based biopharmaceutical company Icosavax for about $1.1bn.