Technology ID

Encapsulated Streptococcus Compositions and Methods for Pneumococcal Vaccine, Probiotic, and Diagnostic Assay Development

Lead Inventor
Whitney, Cynthia (CDC)
Milucky, Jennifer (CDC)
Lessa, Fernanda (CDC)
Pimenta, Fabiana (CDC)
Carvalho, Maria Da Gloria (CDC)
Beall, Bernard (CDC)
Farley, Monica (Emory University)
Research Materials
Occupational Safety and Health
Consumer Products
Therapeutic Areas
Infectious Disease
Development Stages
Lead IC
Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) bacteria, or pneumococcus, can cause many types of illnesses. These range from ear and sinus infections to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and meningitis. Pneumococci are surrounded by a polysaccharide capsule, which is thought to help it evade the immune system. Presently, over 90 known serotypes of S. pneumoniae have been identified, of which only a minority produce the majority of pneumococcal infections; a serotype is defined by a unique pneumococcal capsule structure. Currently available vaccines contain antigens made from capsular polysaccharides of 10, 13, or 23 common S. pneumoniae serotypes.

CDC has discovered encapsulated strains of commensal Streptococcus species,S. mitis, S. oralis and S. infantis, that have capsules that are identical to pneumococcal capsules. From this, researchers developed compositions and methods from the species’ biosynthetic capsular genes which show promise for protecting people against pneumococcal disease, either by using these strains as vaccines or probiotics or through development of diagnostic assays. Initial results show cross-protection against eight S. pneumoniae serotypes, including serotype 1, a leading cause of invasive pneumococcal disease globally outside of the US. The capsule components or a modified version of the commensal Streptococcus species could be used to develop a novel live, inactivated or a sub-unit vaccine for S. pneumoniae. Initial concept studies have been performed in animal models.
Commercial Applications
  • Novel live vaccine or vaccine component to prevent against Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Therapeutic, probiotic or preventive for other pneumococcal conditions (e.g., ear infections, meningitis, and bacteremia)
  • Vaccine-related assays
  • Diagnostic assays
Competitive Advantages
  • May be prepared in a variety of dosage forms such as solution, solid or powdered (e.g., lyophilized) form
  • Easily adaptable to kit form
  • Vaccine compositions may protect against multiple pneumococcal organisms or be tailored for specific serotypes affecting a particular population
  • May address drawbacks of currently available S. pneumoniae vaccines where certain populations do not respond optimally to vaccine antigens
Licensing Contact:
Mitzelfelt, Jeremiah