NMR Characterization of Polysaccharide-Based Vaccines

Polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines are among the safest and most successful vaccines developed during the last 30 years.

Since the first semisynthetic chemical conjugate vaccine licensed in the 1980’s to protect human against Haemophilus influenzae type b infection, conjugate vaccines against Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae have been developed and registered using the same approach (i.e. bacterial growth to produce capsular polysaccharide antigen and chemical coupling to carrier protein).

Physicochemical techniques are a powerful tool for the structural characterization of those vaccines. High-field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy has been established as an extremely useful and robust method for tracking the industrial manufacturing process of these vaccines from polysaccharide bulk antigen through to the final formulation.

In this seminar a description of the use of proton NMR for structural identity and conformity testing of carbohydrate-based vaccines is provided.


Francesco Berti, PhD

Scientific Director, Technical R&D, GSK Vaccines

Dr. Berti earned his bachelor and PhD's degrees in Physical Chemistry at the University of Siena (Italy). During his PhD course he worked on the physicochemical characterization of metal-peptide complexes by spectroscopic techniques on the preparation and structural characterization of meningococcal ACW135Y polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines.

In 2002 Dr. Berti joined GSK Vaccines as a young scientist and in the following 10 years was appointed Project Leader, Lab Head, Unit Head, Head of Vaccine Chemistry and Formulation Department and Head of Antigen Design Department. In April 2018 Dr. Berti has been appointed Scientific Director - Technical R&D, which is his current position.

Dr. Berti has also served as a visiting scientist at the Institute of Biological Sciences in Ottawa, Canada, in 2008 and at the Genomic Institute of Novartis Foundation in 2010.

In the last 15 years, Dr. Berti has been working on research and development of several carbohydrate-based vaccines, particularly focusing on carbohydrate- and protein-based antigens against bacterial and viral infections.

Dr. Berti has authored and co-authored of approximately 80 published scientific papers and reviews and more than 20 patents.

Dr. Ian Clegg

Regional Market Manager, Bruker

Ian joined Bruker BioSpin in 2017 and his role is to work with customers to identify opportunities for the application of magnetic resonance to the pharma / biopharma industries. He then partners with internal and internal stakeholders to deliver solutions designed to improve the value chain. He also holds an additional role developing and implementing the Bruker BioSpin strategy to further support customers working in regulated environments. Prior to Bruker, he held various roles with Novartis and Pfizer, supporting late stage pharmaceutical development and manufacturing. Ian is a graduate of the University of Manchester (UK), with a B.Sc. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Measurement Science.

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