TLR Agonists

Our proprietary technology platform includes a major focus on TLR9 agonists, short DNA segments optimized for TLR9 stimulation and containing specific motifs centered around a CG nucleotide pair. These DNA segments, termed CpGs, engage TLR9 in the same manner as microbial DNA and mimic the natural response to viral and bacterial infection. TLR9 is found primarily in a few specialized immune cell types, including plasmacytoid dendritic cells and B cells. Consequently, TLR9 agonists do not cause a generalized activation of the immune system, but focus activation to specific T and B cells. We have developed a number of proprietary TLR9 agonist compositions and formulations that make use of the different ways in which the innate immune system responds to stimulation.


TLR Agonist Mechanism of Action

When administered in the presence of antigen, a TLR9 agonist is taken into the endosomes of plasmacytoid dendritic cells where it signals through two major pathways leading initially to the induction of Type 1 Interferons (IFN), followed by induction of multiple cytokines and surface molecules that activate and instruct naïve T cells to develop into functional Th1 helper cells. T cells that recognize pieces of the antigen on the surface of the dendritic cells in turn activate B cells specific for the same antigen, leading to production of antibody molecules capable of neutralizing the virus or bacterium.