Biotech Connector Returns to Highlight Research Advances in Vaccine Formulation and Delivery

By Victoria Brun, contributing writer, Partnership Development Office
A flyer for the Biotech Connector, summarizing the information in the article

The Biotech Connector, a quarterly networking and speaker series, is returning to Frederick, Md, on March 1. The event, which is jointly hosted by the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research and Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, brings together entrepreneurs, industry members, and scientists of all kinds for an inside look at local advances in research to improve human health. Each event highlights an exciting topic in biomedical science and features presentations by experts working in the field.

The event has been fully virtual since 2020, but starting in March, it will be offered in a hybrid format to enable the return of in-person networking for the Frederick biotech community.

“Biotech Connector has always been a successful event that provided an opportunity for regional experts to meet and exchange experiences and opinions on a specific topic,” said Vladimir Popov, Frederick National Laboratory chief innovation officer. “We are very excited to switch to a hybrid version, which will accommodate virtual and in-person experiences.”

Next-Generation Vaccine Formulation and Delivery

The March theme is next-generation vaccine formulation and delivery, and it will feature talks from Stephan Stern, Ph.D., DABT, director of research and development, Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL), Frederick National Laboratory, and Puneet Tyagi, Ph.D., associate director with the Dosage Form Design and Development group, AstraZeneca. Next-generation vaccines are those created using emerging or nonconventional methods.

“Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, vaccines have been brought back into the limelight,” said Tygai. His talk will focus on different approaches to vaccine formulation development, including the conventional formulations, the current lipid nanoparticles, and microneedles formulations.

Stern’s talk will focus on current efforts to develop tissue-targeted lipid nanoparticle (LNP) constructs to deliver therapeutic nucleic acids in vaccines to patients. Current LNP nucleic acid formulations primarily accumulate in the liver and regional lymph nodes. However, LNP that can target specific tissues and cell populations could avoid that and benefit many diseases, including cancer and neurological, cardiovascular, and infectious disease.

“Tissue- and cell-specific LNP delivery has the potential to revolutionize nucleic-acid-based therapies, and NCL has several ongoing collaborative formulation projects in this research area,” said Stern.

These talks will highlight how local scientists are leveraging their expertise and capabilities to improve vaccine development.

Register Now

Participants may attend this event in-person at the FNL’s Advanced Technology Research Facility or via Webex. The event is free, but registration is required. Register here.

The Biotech Connector series covers a wide range of topics on technological and biological advances to improve human health. Past topics have included cell therapy, gene editing, immunotherapy, cryo-electron microscopy technologies, and liquid biopsies—and additional topics and speakers are planned for 2023. Join the mailing list here.


Victoria Brun is a partnership project manager in the Frederick National Laboratory Partnership Development Office, where she provides project management support across the office’s broad portfolio of collaborative projects. The Partnership Development Office establishes the partnerships and collaborations among Frederick National Laboratory scientists and external researchers in government, academia, industry, and the nonprofit research sector.