WARF: P00235US

Attenuated Viruses with Mutant Ion Channel Protein


Yoshihiro Kawaoka

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a recombinant influenza A virus that does not contain M2 ion channel activity.
OVERVIEWIon channels, which control the transport of ions across cell membranes, are essential for many cellular functions and may play an important role in the life cycle of viruses. For example, the M2 protein from influenza type A virus has ion channel activity. Because this protein does not vary among influenza A strains, it was thought to be essential for virus replication.
THE INVENTIONA UW-Madison researcher has developed—for the first time—a mutant virus that does not contain M2 ion channel activity. The recombinant influenza A virus was prepared using the inventor’s reverse genetics system (see WARF reference number P99264US). Although it replicates well in tissue culture, it is attenuated in mice. It does not cause disease symptoms, but is able to generate an antibody-mediated immune response, making it an excellent candidate for a live influenza vaccine or a vaccine vector for another pathogen.
  • Live influenza vaccine 
  • Vaccine vector for another pathogen
  • Provides—for the first time—a knockout virus for the M2 protein
  • Demonstrates that M2 ion channel activity is not essential for the life cycle of influenza A virus
  • Vaccines prepared from live, attenuated virus are less costly than vaccines prepared from inactivated virus, and induce an immunity that is generally more durable, effective and cross-reactive.
  • In addition to influenza virus, the reverse genetics method can be used to prepare other recombinant viruses, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), that lack ion channel activity.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jennifer Gottwald at or 608-960-9854.
The WARF Advantage

WARF: A Leader in Technology Transfer Since 1925
Since its founding as a private, nonprofit affiliate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, WARF has provided patent and licensing services to UW–Madison and worked with commercial partners to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.

The University of Wisconsin and WARF –
A Single Location to Accelerate Translational Development of New Drugs

UW–Madison has the integrative capabilities to complete many key components of the drug development cycle, from discovery through clinical trials. As one of the top research universities in the world, and one of the two best-funded universities for research in the country, UW–Madison offers state-of-the-art facilities unmatched by most public universities.

These include the Small Molecule Screening Facility at the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Zeeh Pharmaceutical Experiment Station, which provides consulting and laboratory services for developing formulations and studying solubility, stability and more; the Waisman Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility; the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research, which provides UW–Madison with a complete translational research facility; and the innovative, interdisciplinary Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, home to the private, nonprofit Morgridge Institute for Research and its public twin, WID, part of the university's graduate school. The highly qualified experts at these facilities are ready to work with you to create a library of candidates for drug development.