A novel synthetic immunomodulator and an adjuvant for vaccines

A natural plant product possessing potent immunomodulatory activity, which primes T cell immune responses, and could be used for vaccine development.

The Need

While vaccines are commonly used today for a variety of diseases and have proven efficacious for disease prevention, some vaccines do not efficiently activate an immune response. Adjuvants can be included in a given vaccine to potentiate immune activation and improve the quality of the vaccine. The global market for vaccine adjuvants is expected to rise to $769.4 million by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate of 10.5% (marketsandmarkets.com, Report Code 4378). The use of natural products is a large market driver and has emerged as a promising approach for vaccine formulation development.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Abhay Satoskar, have discovered that Pentalinonsterol (PEN), an isolated compound from the roots of Pentalinon andrieuxii, enhances expression of immunomoduatory transcrption factors. Mice immunized with ovalbumin and PEN showed enhanced antigen-specific Th1 and Th2 cytokines in their splenocytes and lymph nodes, as well as increased IgG1 and IgG2 in their sera. Based on these in vitro and in vivo results, PEN is a potent immunomodulatory compound and could be used as an adjuvant for vaccine development for treatment of infectious diseases.

Commercial Applications

  • Vaccine adjuvant development
  • Improvement of suboptimal vaccines


  • Enhanced immune response
  • Can be harvested from plants without requiring extensive chemical synthesis steps
  • Minor chemical modifications to this product may further improve adjuvant activity

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