Researcher Alberto Fernández Tejada obtains a new ERC Proof of Concept grant.

The project to be funded, known as ADJU-PLATFORM, focuses on the development of a synthetic technology for the production of molecular vaccines in the pre-clinical phase, and assesses their potential for transfer to the market.

The European Research Council earmarks funding to explore the commercial potential of research work.

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded a new Proof of Concept grant to Ikerbasque Research Professor Alberto Fernández Tejada, leader of the Chemical Immunology laboratory at CIC bioGUNE - member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance, BRTA.

Proof of Concept projects funded by the European Research Council (ERC PoC) are made available to researchers who already have an ERC award and are looking to explore the commercial potential of their research work. These projects are focused on establishing proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of ERC-funded projects. The EUR 150,000 grant is primarily for activities aimed at converting research results into a commercial product.

On this occasion, the ERC-funded project, known as ADJU-PLATFORM, focuses on the development of a synthetic technology for the production of molecular vaccines in the pre-clinical phase, and assesses their potential for transfer to the market. The project aims to develop a new platform of self-adjuvanting vaccines, i.e. vaccine candidates that do not need to be co-formulated with external immune-boosting substances to be effective and to induce potent and long-lasting immunity. This innovative strategy is based on the chemical conjugation of the two key elements of the immune reaction in the same molecular structure. On the one hand, the antigen component, which is recognised by the immune system to trigger the immune response, and, on the other hand, the adjuvant element, which provides an additional immune stimulus, increasing the effectiveness of both the response and of the vaccine itself.

Combining chemical synthesis, immunology, preclinical studies in mice and a translational focus, the aim is to develop this vaccine technology platform and exploit it to generate synthetic vaccines that can be advanced to clinical phases in the future.
Alberto Fernández Tejada, PhD in Chemistry (2009) from the University of La Rioja, leads an interdisciplinary research programme in chemical immunology at CIC bioGUNE, focused on the application of various synthetic methodologies and immunological studies, with a twofold objective: to promote the development of new adjuvants and optimised molecular vaccines, and to elucidate key biochemical aspects related to their mechanisms of immunostimulant action.

In the course of his career, Dr Fernández Tejada has been the beneficiary of several prestigious research grants, such as Fulbright (2009) and Marie Curie postdoctoral contracts (2010 and 2013, successively). As an independent researcher, he has secured funding from important national and European programmes to develop his own research programme at CIC bioGUNE. These include a Ramón y Cajal contract from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (2015), an Ikerbasque Research Fellowship (2016), an ERC Starting Grant from the ERC (2016), an AECC LAB grant from the Spanish Association Against Cancer (2022), and a previous ERC Proof of Concept project (2022), to which the current ERC PoC (2023) can now be added.

Alberto Fernández Tejada has research experience at the highest level at the interface between chemistry and biology in leading national and international centers, such as the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York, USA), the Biological Research Center CIB-CSIC (Madrid, Spain) and the University of Oxford (Oxford, UK). Since 2017, he has led his own research group in Chemical Immunology as Ikerbasque Research Professor and Principal Investigator at CIC bioGUNE (Bilbao).

About CIC bioGUNE

The bioGUNE Research Center, member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA) and based in the Bizkaia Science and Technology Park, is a biomedical research organization conducting cutting-edge research at the interface between structural, molecular and cell biology, with a particular focus on the study of the molecular bases of disease, for use in the development of new diagnostic methods and advanced therapies.

About BRTA

The BRTA is an alliance made up of 4 collaborative research centers (CIC bioGUNE, CIC nanoGUNE, CIC biomaGUNE and CIC energiGUNE) and 13 technology centers (Azterlan, Azti, Ceit, Cidetec, Gaiker, Ideko, Ikerlan, Leartiker, Lortek, Neiker, Tecnalia, Tekniker and Vicometch), with the aim of developing advanced technological solutions for Basque companies.

With the support of the Basque Government, the SPRI Group and the Provincial Councils of the three regional provinces, the alliance seeks to promote collaboration among its centers, to strengthen the conditions to generate and transfer knowledge to companies, contributing to their competitiveness, and to spread Basque scientific and technological capacity outside of the Basque Country.

The BRTA has a staff of 3,500 professionals, accounts for 22% of the Basque Country’s R&D investment, generates an annual turnover of over EUR 300 million and files 100 European and international patents per year.

About Ikerbasque

Ikerbasque - the Basque Foundation for Science - was created on the initiative of the Basque Government Department of Education to further strengthen its commitment to scientific research by attracting, bringing to the Basque Country and subsequently consolidating excellent researchers from all over the world. Today, Ikerbasque is a consolidated organisation with 290 researchers working in all fields of knowledge.

Spanish version

See a large version of the first picture


CIC bioGUNE celebrates its eighteenth anniversary with more than 1,700 articles published in...

More than 500 researchers from over 30 countries have worked at CIC bioGUNE...



Lucía Fadón Padilla will defend her PhD thesis on Thursday

Lucía Fadón Padilla will defend her PhD thesis entitled “Characterization of environment-related...