SpyBiotech have developed unique technology to transform how vaccines are created.


  • Unique access to protein superglue for vaccines: SpyTag/SpyCatcher
  • Rapid and irreversible linkage of antigen to virus-like particle platform
  • Specific assembly to give an optimal focused immune response
  • Applicable to a wide range of infectious diseases (viral, bacterial, parasitic) and potentially to cancer

Vaccines are one of the most successful of all medical interventions. The best vaccines can make a disease disappear. One of the most effective ways to create a vaccine is to make a particle that looks like a virus. Virus-like particles look like a virus on the outside but do not contain any viral genetic material, so they cannot cause disease. If virus-like particles can be decorated uniformly with a protein from the disease-causing organism, the body will raise high levels of antibody to this protein, which protects against infection.

This process of decoration has been a central limiting factor, holding back vaccine generation: sometimes it takes many years and sometimes it has previously proved impossible.

SpyTag/SpyCatcher provides a solution: Plug-and-Protectâ„¢ vaccine production.

SpyTag is a peptide that reacts irreversibly with its protein partner SpyCatcher. Both SpyTag and SpyCatcher can be made in any cell-type. SpyTag/SpyCatcher reaction is fast, efficient and specific.

SpyBiotech fuses SpyCatcher to virus-like particles. Then, after identifying a viral or bacterial target, we only need to fuse this target to SpyTag, mix with the particles, and the vaccine is ready to use.


Selected Publications (open access)

Plug-and-Display: decoration of Virus-Like Particles via isopeptide bonds for modular immunization.

Brune KD, Leneghan D, Brian IJ, Ishizuka AS, Bachmann MF, Draper SJ, Biswas S, Howarth M.

Sci Rep 2016 Jan 19;6:19234.


Secrets of a covalent interaction for biomaterials and biotechnology: SpyTag and SpyCatcher.

Reddington SC, Howarth M.

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2015 Oct 27;29:94-99


Programmable polyproteams built using twin peptide superglues.

Veggiani G, Nakamura T, Brenner MD, Gayet RV, Yan J, Robinson CV, Howarth M.

PNAS 2016 Feb 2;113(5):1202-7


Peptide tag forming a rapid covalent bond to a protein, through engineering a bacterial adhesin.

Zakeri B, Fierer JO, Celik E, Chittock EC, Schwarz-Linek U, Moy VT, Howarth M.

PNAS 2012 Mar 20;109(12):E690-7.



SpyTag technology has application across a range of diseases and vaccine platforms. We are keen to partner with other companies to develop these opportunities, so please get in touch.