In vitro Production of Plasmodium falciparum Sporozoites


To manufacture genetically altered malaria sporozoites at large scale for immunization

Anticipated Impact: 

A safe malaria vaccine for travelers, the military, and residents of endemic areas


Dr. Kappe and colleagues will scale up and pilot test a process to manufacture genetically altered malaria sporozoites in conjunction with a new startup company, MalarVx. Production at large scale is necessary to produce enough material for initial immunization and maintenance of ongoing immunity. The Washington market is travelers to endemic regions and the military; the developing world is a vastly larger market but at a lower cost.

Collaborating organization: MalarVx, Inc.

Malaria Immunization

Grant Update

Principal Investigator:
Stefan Kappe
Grantee Organization:
Center for Infectious Disease Research
Grant Title:
In Vitro Production of Plasmodium Falciparum Sporozoites
Grant Cohort and Year:
2013 Proof of Concept (03)
Grant Period:
10/01/2013 - 09/30/2015 (Completed)
Grant Amount:
Plasmodium falciparum malaria causes approximately one million deaths per year and a vaccine for malaria elimination is desperately needed. The LSDF grant we were awarded has enabled us to advance our knowledge of the automated culture of Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte culture, Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite cryopreservation and Plasmodium falciparum in vitro sporozoite culture. All of these aspects of Plasmodium falciparum culture are important for the generation of attenuated parasites which we believe will become a viable vaccine platform for malaria eradication. We have successfully come up with a method of cryopreserving Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites - the invasive stage of the parasite that infects the human host upon infectious mosquito bite. Thawed, cryopreserved sporozoites successfully invade cultured hepatoma cells as measured by flow cytometry. Additionally, we have successfully automated Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte culture. Recently, we have used these gametocytes for downstream in vitro midgut production and have seen evidence for sporozoite maturation. We are continuing to work on this project and modifications will ensure maximal sporozoite production.

Impact in Washington

Location of LSDF Grantee
Locations of Collaborations/Areas of Impact

Legislative Districts:
11, 34, 36, 37, 43, 46

Health Impacts

Malaria Immunization