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Collin Nicolas, Group Leader

Latest News | The VACCINE FORMULATION LABORATORY | 1. Adjuvant systems | 2. Formulation services | 3. Technology Transfer | 4. Training | Publications | Group members

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.

Latest News

Press release

EU invests €8.5 million in the fight against poverty related diseases

Lausanne, 18 November 2013

In November 2013 the collaborative infrastructure programme ‘European Research Infrastructures for Poverty Related Diseases’ (EURIPRED) will start in order to reinforce the knowledge infrastructure across diseases. The ultimate aim is to speed up the development of new tools (vaccines, drugs, microbicides) to combat Tuberculosis, HIV, Malaria, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. EURIPRED is co-funded with €8.5M by the European Commission. Scientists from 17 research partners in 10 countries will collaborate in this new programme.

HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria alone account for 3.4 million deaths worldwide every year. Despite substantial efforts made in recent years, these poverty related diseases are still spreading. Among the reasons are the absence of preventing vaccines for all diseases, the sometimes tough and burdensome treatment courses and the underdiagnoses. Therefore new tools are urgently required to combat these diseases.

Several organisations in Europe and beyond, are working on the development of these new tools. For HIV, TB and Malaria there are well-developed infrastructures for the development of the specific tools each, where research organisations share knowledge to accelerate development. However, it is no common use that they benefit from other diseases’ experiences, because there is no single infrastructure to coordinate the development of all these new tools from discovery to clinical trials. EURIPRED aims to fill this gap, by integrating international resources in this field, including for the development of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C which both could very well benefit from the experiences in other diseases.

“By creating a research infrastructure for European and international scientists, we expect to accelerate the development of new vaccines and drugs against these poverty-related diseases” says Dr. Nicolas Collin, partner of the EURIPRED consortium and Leader of the Vaccine Formulation Laboratory (VFL) at University of Lausanne. “Besides that, by sharing the expertise among partners and outside of the infrastructure, EURIPRED can improve research efficiency in this field”.

EURIPRED comprises a team of leading European scientists, institutes and networks in the field of poverty related diseases. The project is reinforced by key partners in the endemic countries China, Russia and Kenya. Besides knowledge exchange, concrete objectives are exchange, selection, development, production and validation of reference reagents, assays and standards and training.

The Vaccine Formulation Laboratory is hosted since 2010 at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Lausanne, and is a Collaborating Centre of the World Health Organization. It provides know-how and training in vaccine formulation to the international community and to developing countries. The VFL is sponsored by several governments and foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Within EURIPRED, it will provide access to its formulation services and will contribute to strengthen vaccine and drug development in the field of poverty-related diseases.


  1. National Institute of Biological Standards and Control, a centre of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (NIBSC-MHRA), United Kingdom
  2. King’s College London, United Kingdom
  3. National center for AIDS/STD control and prevention, Chinese center for disease control and prevention, China
  4. D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of virology of the ministry of health and social development of the Russian Federation
  5. Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain
  6. Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya
  7. JPT peptide technologies GMBH, Germany
  8. Polymun scientific immunbiologische Forschung GMBH, Austria
  9. Leiden University and Medical Centre, The Netherlands
  10. Icosagen AS, Estonia
  11. Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, The Netherlands
  12. University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  13. Lionex GMBH, Germany
  14. University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  15. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom
  16. Eatris, The Netherlands
  17. Federal state budgetary educational institution of higher professional education state university of management, Russian Federation   



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.

Part of this activity was initiated under the auspices of TRANSVAC, a collaborative infrastructure project funded under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme:

Any groups can also apply to access the VFL’s formulation services outside of the Transvac programme. Several adjuvant systems can be evaluated for formulation with a collaborator’s antigen which can be tested at the VFL by in vitro and in vivo characterisation assays.


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 is 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 in order to develop novel inactivated polio vaccine formulations based on aluminium salts, in order to achieve dose-sparing.
This effort aims to contribute to the affordability of inactivated polio vaccines for developing countries, in the context of the effort the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. 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 adjuvant hands-on training & theoretical courses including training on good practices in Vaccine Formulation, training on Quality Control of adjuvanted vaccines, training courses on preclinical evaluation of adjuvanted vaccines (stability, immunogenicity, etc.).



    Some past training courses:

  • 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.



Collin, N. (2013). Modern Vaccines-Adjuvants Formulation-Session 2 (Plenary II): May 15-17, 2013 - Lausanne, Switzerland. Human vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 9(9):

Westdijk, J., P. Koedam, et al. (2013). Antigen sparing with adjuvanted inactivated polio vaccine based on Sabin strains. Vaccine 31(9): 1298-1304.

Ventura, R., L. Brunner, et al. (2013). Technology transfer of an oil-in-water vaccine-adjuvant for strengthening pandemic influenza preparedness in Indonesia. Vaccine 31(12): 1641-1645.

Heuking, S. and G. Borchard (2012). Toll-like receptor-7 agonist decoration enhances the adjuvanticity of chitosan-DNA nanoparticles. J Pharm Sci 101(3): 1166-1177.

Collin, N., T. C. Assumpção, 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. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 32(9): 2185-2198.

Ostera, G., F. Tokumasu, et al. (2011). Plasmodium falciparum: nitric oxide modulates heme speciation in isolated food vacuoles. Exp Parasitol 127(1): 1-8.

Xu, X., F. Oliveira, 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. J Biol Chem 286(37): 32383-32393.

Collin, N. and P. M. Dubois (2011). The Vaccine Formulation Laboratory: a platform for access to adjuvants. Vaccine 29 Suppl 1: A37-39.

Group members

 Christophe Barnier-Quer Formulation Scientist
 Livia Brunner R&D Manager
 Aurélie Demierre Technician
 Patrice Dubois Principal Investigator
 Géraldine Frank Technician
 Virginie Jakob Technician
 Maria Lawrenz Project Manager
 Maude Marti Favre Technician
 Roland Ventura International Affairs Manager
Thérèse Sidibé Master Student
Lana Cridland Project Assistant
Simon Heuking Formulation Scientist
Julien Cesbron Technician
Rémi Doucet Ladeveze Technician



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