Morten Agertoug Nielsen

Morten Agertoug Nielsen


Medlem af:

  • VAR2CSA team

Curriculum Vitae, Morten A Nielsen, Professor i Translationel Immunology, PhD Health Sciences, MSc Biology Copenhagen

Major scientific achievements

  • Identified differences in variant surface antigen expression of Plasmodium falciparum, which paved the way for identification of genes involved in the particular virulence of the parasite infections in children.
  • Setup high throughput potency binding-inhibition assays that allowed identification, assessment and clinical development of vaccine candidate against placental malaria.
  • Principal investigator in the project PlacMalVac that identified the PAMVAC placental malaria vaccine and transferred it from preclinical to first in human studies in Germany and Benin.
  • Co-Founded the research group that identified a versatile capsid virus like particle vaccine platform.
  • Principal investigator in the Prevent-nCoV project that identified the ABNCOV2 SARS-COV-2 vaccine candidate and transferred it from preclinical to first-in-human studies in the Netherlands.
  • Elucidating the potential of using onco-foetal chondroitin sulphates as tumour associated antigen in targeting of bispecific antibodies in cancer immuno-therapy.
  • Principal investigator in the Advance VAC4PM project that from 2021-2026 will identify and transfer the 2nd generation PAMVAC-cVLP vaccine from preclinical over first-in-human phase I to phase 2 studies in the Netherlands and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Major Collaborative Grants

  • FP7 project, PlacMalVac, total budget of € 7M. Principal investigator and coordinator.
  • H2020 grant, Prevent-nCoV, total budget € 3.4M. Principal investigator and coordinator.
  • TransVac2, Prevent-nCoV GAP Total budget € 0.6M budget. Principal investigator and coordinator.
  • Global health innovative technology, VAC4PM, Total budget € 3.4M. Principal investigator.
  • Horizon Europe, Advance VAC4PAM, total budget € 10M. Principal investigator.
  • Innovation fund Denmark, PIGVAC, Total budget € 2M. Principal investigator.
  • Lundbeck foundation, CytoPad, € 1.3M. Work package leader.
  • EU Eurostars, TREAT-Her2, Total budget € 1.1M. Principal investigator.
  • NFF Tandem, Pre-operative mRNA treatment, Total budget € 1.3M. Work package leader.
  • EU Eurostars, OptiFemVac, Total budget € 0.8M. Work package leader.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

  • Combined funding to projects that I participated in, technology that I co-invented and investments into companies that I am co-founder of is currently more than €200M. Most recent €108M to Bavarian Nordic from the Danish Government to support a phase III clinical trial our AdaptVac COVID19 vaccine – ABNCoV2.
  • 2020: Negotiation of license on corona virus vaccines between AdaptVac and Bavarian Nordic. Deal value excluding royalties € 136M.
  • 2020: Negotiation of license between AdaptVac and ExpreS2ion on HER2 vaccine. Deal value excluding royalties € 29M.
  • 2017: Negotiation of license on VLP technology between UCPH and AdaptVac.
  • 2017: Co-founder in NextGen Vaccines and AdaptVac (
  • 2012: Co-Founder: VAR2 Pharmaceuticals ( & VARCT (


  • AdaptVac: Chairman, NextGen Vaccines: Chairman, Centre for Medical Parasitology: Member, Board of Innovation at Department of Immunology and Microbiology: Member.

Intellectual property & Patent families:

  • Compounds useful in the diagnosis and treatment of malaria. US Patent App. 10/585,027, 2004.
  • Targeting of chondroitin sulfate glycans. WO 2013117705 A1.
  • Virus like particle with efficient epitope display PA 2014 70679.
  • VLP vaccine with SpyTag PA 2015 70019.
  • DNA/RNA vaccines Application no. PCT/EP2021/086528


  • Regulatory meetings with Swedish Regulatory Board on PAMVAC, Paul Erlich Institute Germany on PAMVAC, Paul Erlich Institute Germany on ABNCoV2 and Central Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects The Nederlands on ABNCoV2

Personal Achievements

  • Born 26th of May 1974 in Gentofte.
  • Married to Maria Dige Nielsen. Children: Nicolai (born 2007) and Frederik (born 2010).


  • PhD at Institute for Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Health Sciences, UCPH (2005);
  • Master in Biology at Department of Infectious; Diseases at Copenhagen University Hospital (2001);
  • Bachelor degree at Department of Biology, Section for Microbiology, UCPH (1999);
  • Mathematical Exams at Vordingborg Gymnasium (1993)

Employment History

  • Current: Professor of Translational Immunology at Department of Immunology and Microbiology.
  • 2008 - Current: Associate Professor at Inst. for International Health, Immunology and Microbiology.
  • 2005 - 2007: Post Doc at Dept. of Infect. Diseases at Copenhagen University Hospital.
  • 2004 - 2005: Scientific assistant at Dept. of Infect. Diseases at Copenhagen University Hospital.
  • 2001 – 2004: Phd Student at Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology.

Teaching and supervision

  • Mentor in Post doc programme. UCPH, Teaching at “Human Parasitology” Course for Master students. UCPH; Teaching at the “Applied Immunology” Course for Master students, UCPH; Teaching at the “Development and production of vaccines”, DTU; Course planning and teaching “Malaria Epidemiology and Immunology” for PhD students, UCPH; Teaching at the “Basic Immunology” Course for Masters students of Human Biology, UCPH; Teaching at the Medical Biotechnology and Drug Development course for pre-graduate students, DIS; Supervision of students: Supervisor of more than 14 PhD, 15 MSc, 6 BSc and two OSwal students since 2008

Public Outreach

Referee functions

  • Associate section editor: Frontiers in Immunology. Journal review: Frontiers in Immunology, Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Experimental Parasitology, Trends in Parasitology, Scientific Reports, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Malaria Journal, Journal of Immunology, Blood, Plos One, Infection and Immunity.



Scientific output

  • Among other journals author in Nature, Nature Communications, Nature Communications Biology, PLOS Pathogens, Cancer Cell, Frontiers Immunology, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Cell Death and Disease, Vaccine, Immunology, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Infection and Immunity, Trends in Parasitology.
  •, Google scholar Total citations 5630, h-Index: 41, i10: 72.


PhD, Cand Scient Biologi

ID: 3145601