Novel Acne Vaccine Targeting Inflammation-Inducing Agent of P. acnes

Tech ID: liu000876



Acne vulgaris consistently represents the top three most prevalent skin conditions in the general population globally and affects ~85% of young adults aged 12-25 years. Acne is often mistakenly thought to affect exclusively the teenaged group. However, a significant number of patients either continue to experience acne or develop new-onset acne after the teenaged years. The inflammation of acne is closely related to the bacteria Proprionibacterium acnes, a natural part of skin flora. The inventors identified the enzyme hyaluronidase from specific P. acnes strains as the major contributor to inflammation. Preliminary data in a new acne mouse model suggest that pro-inflammatory P. acnes hyaluronidase can be developed into acne vaccine. 


Technology Description 

•       Hyaluronan is a linear glycosaminoglycan polymer found in extracellular matrix of nearly all tissues, and hyaluronidase breaks down hyaluronan into small fragments. The inventors previously discovered that hyaluronidase can be classified into either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory type according to the generated hyaluronan fragment size.

•       Interestingly, P. acnes is associated with both acne patients and healthy subjects, and recent genomic studies have identified various clades of P. acnes with different degrees of health- or acne- association. The inventors discovered this association is strongly linked to the pro-inflammatory type of hyaluronidase a strain carries (based on analysis of more than 60 P. acnes genomes) and propose to use the hyaluronidase as acne vaccine target.

•       In a new acne mouse model developed by the inventors, vaccination against the full length recombinant pro-inflammatory hyaluronidase leads to reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines and trend towards decrease in disease severity.



•       Traditional acne treatments include over-the-counter topical treatments, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and cosmetic procedures. These treatments all have shortcomings and risks. The vaccine approach can potentially provide long last solution to acne without significant drawbacks. 



•       Pro-inflammatory hyaluronidase or peptide can be further optimized and developed into acne vaccine. The inventors have obtained crystal structures of both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory hyaluronidases to guide vaccine design. 

•       The new mouse developed by the inventors successfully mimics human acne disease. This model can accelerate acne vaccine or therapy development.


Intellectual Property

PCT application PCT/US2016/044793 nationalized in US and EU.


Selected Publication

Kolar et al. Group B Streptococcus evades host immunity by degrading hyaluronan. Cell Host Microbe. 2015, 18(6):694-704 [Link]


Figure 1: Wild-type and pro-inflammatory hyaluronidase (hylA) mutant P. acnes were injected into novel acne mouse model. Mice injected with hylA mutant had significant lower acne disease score (induration and erythema) and tissue IL-6 level.



Figure 2: Recombinant pro-inflammatory hyaluronidase vaccine injection reduced disease score and skin IL-1β level in new mouse model.



For more information, please contact Cedars-Sinai Office of Technology Transfer:


Wenyue Du, PhD

Senior Tech Transfer Associate – IP Portfolio Management and Licensing

T: +1 310.423.2241



Song Qu, PhD

Tech Transfer Associate – IP Portfolio Management and Licensing

T: +1 310.423.6460



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Wenyue Du
Senior Associate - IP Management & Licensing
George Liu
Stacey Kolar
Inflammatory Disorders