WARF: P03251US

Methods for Engineering Influenza Viruses to Carry Defined Mutations


Yoshihiro Kawaoka

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing methods for preparing influenza viruses with defined mutations.
OVERVIEWInfluenza vaccines are prepared from attenuated, live virus or from killed virus. The immunity resulting from live virus vaccines is generally more durable, effective, and cross-reactive than that from killed virus vaccines; however, the mutations in attenuated, live viruses are often ill defined.
THE INVENTIONA UW-Madison reseasrcher has developed a method of preparing viruses with defined mutations. The method uses a reverse genetics system created by Dr. Kawaoka (see WARF reference number P03252US), which consists of plasmids containing the promoter for RNA polymerase I or RNA polymerase II; a cDNA for each of the influenza virus RNA segments; and the terminator for RNA polymerase I. These plasmids are transfected into cells along with protein expression plasmids to generate live virus.

The technology featured here allows mutations to be introduced into any of the cDNAs to generate viruses with defined mutations. For example, viruses lacking the NB protein -- an integral membrane glycoprotein that promotes efficient replication in vivo -- were created with this method. The NB knockout viruses replicated as efficiently as wild type virus in cell culture, but were attenuated in mice.
  • Influenza vaccines
  • Manipulation of influenza virus
  • Vaccine vectors for gene therapy
  • Viral mutagenesis studies
  • Allows easy manipulation of influenza virus through the introduction of defined attenuating mutations into the viral genome
  • Greatly enhances influenza viruses as vaccine vectors
  • May be used for rapid production of attenuated, live virus vaccine during a suspected pandemic
  • Viruses can be engineered to express foreign proteins or immunogenic epitopes
  • Allows repetitive use of these viruses as vaccine vectors for gene therapy
  • Helper virus not required
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.