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Collin Nicolas, Group Leader



Nicolas Collin is Doctor in Veterinary Medicine and Doctor in Molecular Virology (University of Toulouse III). He worked as Project Leader on gene therapy in a Biotech company (Transgene), and completed a postdoctoral fellowship on Leishmania vaccines at the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC. In 2008 he joined the World Health Organization (Geneva) and was coordinator of the WHO Influenza Vaccine TaskForce during the H1N1 pandemic.

Nicolas Collin joined UNIL in January 2010 upon the creation of the Vaccine Formulation Laboratory.


Open call: 6th WHO training course on adjuvants and vaccine formulation. Dates: 28th of November - 2nd of December 2016.

Deadline for application: 20th of October 2016 at 5:00pm GMT. Read here.


Adjuvants are increasingly used by the vaccine research and development community, particularly for their ability to enhance immune responses and for their dose-sparing properties. However, they are not readily available to the majority of public sector vaccine research groups, and even those with access to suitable adjuvants may still fail in the development of their vaccines because of lack of knowledge on how to correctly formulate the adjuvants.

This shortcoming led the World Health Organization to promote the establishment of the Vaccine Formulation Laboratory at the University of Lausanne, in January 2010. The VFL acts as a platform for adjuvants with the following main strategies:

1. Supply of adjuvants for research and preclinical development          

2. Custom vaccine formulation services

3. Transfer of technology to vaccine manufacturers

4. Training on adjuvants and vaccine formulation



1. Adjuvant systems

The Vaccine Formulation Laboratory can provide a variety of adjuvant systems for preclinical use, including adjuvants manufactured in house and proprietary adjuvants provided under material transfer agreements.


2. Formulation services

The Vaccine Formulation Laboratory is providing formulation services to a variety of collaborators worldwide.

VFL services include formulation of several adjuvant systems with collaborator's antigens and its characterization by in vitro and in vivo assays.

The service activity was initiated under the auspices of TRANSVAC, the "European Network of Vaccine Research and Development", which was funded under the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (EC-FP7): http://www.transvac.org. At present, formulation services are provided under EURIPRED "European Research Infrastructures for Poverty related Diseases", also funded under EC-FP7: http://www.euripred.eu. Moreover, groups can apply to access the VFL formulation services outside of the EC programmes.


3. Technology Transfer

Since October 2010, the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) selected the Vaccine Formulation Laboratory to transfer the know-how for manufacturing an oil-in-water emulsion for adjuvantation of pandemic influenza vaccines. Bio Farma, Indonesia, a grantee of the WHO initiative to transfer the capacity to produce influenza vaccines to DCVM, is the first technology transfer partner of the VFL.

The first phase of the project, comprising the installation of equipment required for production and characterization of oil-in-water emulsions, the establishment of relevant standard operating procedures, training of laboratory staff, and on-site validation of the transferred processes was completed in September 2011 (Ventura, Brunner et al. 2013). The second phase of the project comprising preclinical studies compliant with national regulatory requirements is currently conducted and aims to direct towards human clinical testing of oil-in-water adjuvanted pandemic influenza vaccines.

Following the technology transfer to Bio Farma, Indonesia, a second recipient of the emulsion technology, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC), in Vietnam was selected. This project was supported by the German technical cooperation "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit" (GIZ), and was recently completed.

In June 2013, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the Vaccine Formulation Laboratory to develop novel inactivated polio vaccine formulations based on aluminium salts, in order to achieve dose-sparing.
This effort is part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and aims at making inactivated polio vaccines affordable for developing countries. The clinical studies following this project will be conducted to confirm the immunogenicity of the reduced dose of aluminium-based adjuvanted vaccine.

4. Training

The Vaccine Formulation Laboratory offers numerous theoretical courses hands-on training on adjuvants, including training on good practices in vaccine formulation, training on quality control of adjuvanted vaccines, and courses on preclinical evaluation of adjuvanted vaccines (stability, immunogenicity, etc.) 

Some past training courses:

  • WHO Practical Training Course on Adjuvants and Vaccine Formulation, April 2016, VFL laboratories, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Read here.
  • WHO Theoretical Training Course on Adjuvants and Vaccine Formulation, June 2015, VFL laboratories, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Read here.
  • WHO Practical Training Course on Adjuvants and Vaccine Formulation, February 2015, VFL laboratories, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Read here.
  • WHO Theoretical Training Course on Adjuvants and Vaccine Formulation, September 2013, Vaccine Formulation Laboratory (VFL) training center, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Read here.
  • WHO Practical Training Course on Adjuvants and Vaccine Formulation, September 2013, VFL laboratories, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Read here.
  • Second TRANSVAC training course "Practical approaches to vaccine development", March 2013, VFL training center, University of Lausanne, Epalinges, Switzerland.Read here.
  • Training on immunogenicity studies in mice, March 2013, Indonesia.
  • TRANSVAC training course "Practical approaches to vaccine development", September 2012, VFL training center, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Read here.
  • Training on oil-in-water antigen formulation, August 2012, Indonesia.
  • Training on oil-in-water manufacturing at laboratory scale, August 2011, Vietnam.
  • Workshop for developing Countries scientists on oil-in-water manufacturing and QC at laboratory scale, December 2011, VFL laboratories, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Training course for developing countries scientists on preclinical evalution of adjuvanted pandemic vaccines, December 2011, RIVM, The Netherlands.
  • Training for developing countries scientists on oil-in-water manufacturing and QC at pilot scale, March 2011, VFL laboratories, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


2017 |  2016 |  2015 |  2014 |  2013 |  2012 |  2011 |  2010 |  2009 |  2005 | 

Brunner L., Barnier-Quer C., Collin N., 2017. QS-21 Adjuvant: Laboratory-Scale Purification Method and Formulation Into Liposomes. Methods In Molecular Biology 1494 pp. 73-86. [DOI] [Pubmed]
Ferreira V.P., Fazito Vale V., Pangburn M.K., Abdeladhim M., Ferreira Mendes-Sousa A., Coutinho-Abreu I.V., Rasouli M., Brandt E.A., Meneses C., Lima K.F. et al., 2016. SALO, a novel classical pathway complement inhibitor from saliva of the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis. Scientific Reports 6 p. 19300. [Document] [DOI] [Pubmed]
Poecheim J., Barnier-Quer C., Collin N., Borchard G., 2016. Ag85A DNA Vaccine Delivery by Nanoparticles: Influence of the Formulation Characteristics on Immune Responses. Vaccines 4(3) pp. xx. [Document] [DOI] [Pubmed]
Varypataki E.M., Silva A.L., Barnier-Quer C., Collin N., Ossendorp F., Jiskoot W., 2016. Synthetic long peptide-based vaccine formulations for induction of cell mediated immunity: A comparative study of cationic liposomes and PLGA nanoparticles. Journal of Controlled Release 226 pp. 98-106. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Geels M.J., Thøgersen R.L., Guzman C.A., Ho M.M., Verreck F., Collin N., Robertson J.S., McConkey S.J., Kaufmann S.H., Leroy O., 2015. TRANSVAC research infrastructure - Results and lessons learned from the European network of vaccine research and development. Vaccine 33(41) pp. 5481-5487. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Poecheim J., Heuking S., Brunner L., Barnier-Quer C., Collin N., Borchard G., 2015. Nanocarriers for DNA Vaccines: Co-Delivery of TLR-9 and NLR-2 Ligands Leads to Synergistic Enhancement of Proinflammatory Cytokine Release. Nanomaterials 5(4) pp. 2317-1334. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Misstear K., McNeela E.A., Murphy A.G., Geoghegan J.A., O'Keeffe K.M., Fox J., Chan K., Heuking S., Collin N., Foster T.J. et al., 2014. Targeted nasal vaccination provides antibody-independent protection against Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of Infectious Diseases 209(9) pp. 1479-1484. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Collin N., 2013. Modern Vaccines/Adjuvants Formulation-Session 2 (Plenary II): May 15-17, 2013-Lausanne, Switzerland. Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics 9(9) pp. 2015-2016. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Ventura R., Brunner L., Heriyanto B., de Boer O., O'Hara M., Huynh C., Suhardono M., Collin N., 2013. Technology transfer of an oil-in-water vaccine-adjuvant for strengthening pandemic influenza preparedness in Indonesia. Vaccine 31(12) pp. 1641-1645. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Westdijk J., Koedam P., Barro M., Steil B.P., Collin N., Vedvick T.S., Bakker W.A., van der Ley P., Kersten G., 2013. Antigen sparing with adjuvanted inactivated polio vaccine based on Sabin strains. Vaccine 31(9) pp. 1298-1304. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Borchard G., Esmaeili F., Heuking S., 2012. Chitosan-based delivery systems for mucosal vaccination. pp. 211-224 in Sarmento B., Das Neves J. (eds.) Chitosan-based systems for biopharmaceuticals: delivery, targeting and polymer therapeutics. Wiley, Chichester. [DOI]
Collin N., Assumpção T.C., Mizurini D.M., Gilmore D.C., Dutra-Oliveira A., Kotsyfakis M., Sá-Nunes A., Teixeira C., Ribeiro J.M., Monteiro R.Q. et al., 2012. Lufaxin, a novel factor Xa inhibitor from the salivary gland of the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis blocks protease-activated receptor 2 activation and inhibits inflammation and thrombosis in vivo. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 32(9) pp. 2185-2198. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Collin N., Dubois P.M., 2011. The Vaccine Formulation Laboratory: a platform for access to adjuvants. Vaccine 29 Suppl 1(Suppl 1) pp. A37-A39. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Ostera G., Tokumasu F., Teixeira C., Collin N., Sa J., Hume J., Kumar S., Ribeiro J., Lukat-Rodgers G.S., Rodgers K.R., 2011. Plasmodium falciparum: nitric oxide modulates heme speciation in isolated food vacuoles. Experimental Parasitology 127(1) pp. 1-8. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Xu X., Oliveira F., Chang B.W., Collin N., Gomes R., Teixeira C., Reynoso D., My Pham V., Elnaiem D.E., Kamhawi S. et al., 2011. Structure and function of a "yellow" protein from saliva of the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis that confers protective immunity against Leishmania major infection. Journal of Biological Chemistry 286(37) pp. 32383-32393. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Teixeira C., Gomes R., Collin N., Reynoso D., Jochim R., Oliveira F., Seitz A., Elnaiem D.E., Caldas A., de Souza A.P. et al., 2010. Discovery of markers of exposure specific to bites of Lutzomyia longipalpis, the vector of Leishmania infantum chagasi in Latin America. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 4(3) pp. e638. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Collin N., de Radiguès X., World Health Organization H1N1 Vaccine Task Force, 2009. Vaccine production capacity for seasonal and pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza. Vaccine 27(38) pp. 5184-5186. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Collin N., Gomes R., Teixeira C., Cheng L., Laughinghouse A., Ward J.M., Elnaiem D.E., Fischer L., Valenzuela J.G., Kamhawi S., 2009. Sand fly salivary proteins induce strong cellular immunity in a natural reservoir of visceral leishmaniasis with adverse consequences for Leishmania. PLoS Pathogens 5(5) pp. e1000441. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Schwarz A., Helling S., Collin N., Teixeira C.R., Medrano-Mercado N., Hume J.C., Assumpção T.C., Marcus K., Stephan C., Meyer H.E. et al., 2009. Immunogenic salivary proteins of Triatoma infestans: development of a recombinant antigen for the detection of low-level infestation of triatomines. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 3(10) pp. e532. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Collin N., Guérin J.L., Drexler I., Blanié S., Gelfi J., Boullier S., Foucras G., Sutter G., Messud-Petit F., 2005. The poxviral scrapin MV-LAP requires a myxoma viral infection context to efficiently downregulate MHC-I molecules. Virology 343(2) pp. 171-178. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Person Position Contact
Christophe Barnier-Quer Scientist Unisciences
Livia Brunner Scientist Unisciences
Patrice Dubois Scientist patrice.dubois@unil.ch
Géraldine Frank Technician Unisciences
Virginie Jakob Technician Unisciences
Maria Lawrenz Project Manager maria.lawrenz@unil.ch
Célia Lebas Technician Unisciences
Céline Lemoine Technician Unisciences
Maude Marti-Favre Technician Unisciences
Roland Ventura Project Manager roland.ventura@unil.ch




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Nicolas Collin


Tel: +41 21 692 5843

Chemin des Boveresses 155 - CH-1066 Epalinges  - Switzerland  -  Tel. +41 21 692 5700  -  Fax +41 21 692 5705
Swiss University