February 2024

TollereBio Advancing Vaccine Adjuvant Platform with Novel Technology Licensed from University of Maryland, Baltimore

February 13, 2024    |  

BALTIMORE, Maryland, February 12, 2024 — TollereBio, a Maryland-based biotechnology startup, has secured an exclusive, worldwide, all-fields license from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) for a novel vaccine adjuvant technology. The UMB spinout is working to commercialize the patented bacterial enzymatic combinatorial chemistry (BECC) platform to develop accessible, cost-effective vaccine adjuvants for prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines.


Robert K. Ernst, PhD

Robert K. Ernst, PhD

Adjuvants are added vaccine ingredients that enhance the body’s immune response. The BECC platform generates innovative adjuvants that can be used to fine-tune desired immune responses, ultimately improving vaccine efficacy. These BECC adjuvants show increased antibody production, improve T-cell activation, and extend the durability of vaccine protection compared to existing adjuvants.

“TollereBio is excited to partner with the University of Maryland, Baltimore to advance this exciting adjuvant technology,” said Charles Richardson, PhD, co-founder and chief executive officer of TollereBio. “We are committed to providing superior adjuvants that enhance vaccines to prevent and treat diseases globally. The BECC technology has already shown great promise in multiple preclinical experiments, and we look forward to partnering with vaccine developers worldwide to bring these innovations to patients that need them.”

The BECC technology platform was developed by Robert K. Ernst, PhD, the Dr. Paul and Mrs. Jean Corcoran Endowed Professor and chair of the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) and Distinguished University Professor. Dr. Ernst also is the co-founder and Scientific Advisory Board chair of TollereBio.

“We want to help augment the response to some of these adjuvants that have been around for more than 100 years,” Dr. Ernst said. “The goal is to generate a high-efficacy, cost-effective adjuvant that when formulated in component vaccines can be used to combat the global health burden of a wide range of human pathogens.”

Dr. Ernst has received more than $16 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to support his work developing and testing novel adjuvants for the improvement of vaccines. Most recently, he was awarded a five-year, $9.4 million contract from NIAID to continue work developing and testing novel adjuvants for the improvement of vaccines. Dr. Ernst was awarded $6.4 million in funding through the same NIAID program in 2018.

“It’s wonderful to see our faculty translate their research from the lab into commercial endeavors where it has the potential to positively impact human health,” said Phil Robilotto, DO, MBA, associate vice president for technology transfer at UMB and executive director of UM Ventures, Baltimore. “We’re excited to see how TollereBio advances this technology.”

About TollereBio

TollereBio was founded to commercialize the BECC Technology platform for adjuvant development invented by Dr. Robert K. Ernst at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. We are committed to improving vaccine efficacy and safety with global accessibility. The BECC platform enables quick and efficient engineering of lipid A mimetics for identification of new TLR4 adjuvants with customized immunostimulatory properties. Our team of experienced industry veterans is excited to offer accessible, cost-effective vaccine adjuvants that can have a positive impact on global human health. www.tollerebio.com

About the University of Maryland, Baltimore and UM Ventures, Baltimore

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is commercializing breakthrough therapies, diagnostics, and devices; fueling the creation of innovative startup companies; and attracting industry leaders and entrepreneurs to its thriving campus. Founded in 1807 as the first public medical school in the nation, UMB is a fast-growing biomedical research center with nationally ranked professional schools of dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, an interdisciplinary graduate school as well as a 14 acre bio-medical research park. www.umaryland.edu

UM Ventures, Baltimore commercializes UMB’s breakthrough therapies, diagnostics, and devices; fuels the creation of innovative startup companies; and attracts industry leaders and entrepreneurs to the University's thriving downtown campus. A wide portfolio of technologies is available for licensing at www.umventures.org


Media Contacts

Hans Lien for TollereBio
Founder and Chief Operations Officer

Claire Murphy for UM Ventures, Baltimore
Director of Strategic Marketing