SEATTLE, Aug. 26 IDRI announced today it has been awardeda $6.3 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and InfectiousDiseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for thedevelopment of adjuvant combinations specifically designed to enhance theimmune response to new tuberculosis vaccine antigens. This four-year grantwill enable the selection of the most promising adjuvant formulations, theirevaluation in preclinical models and the development of manufacturingprocesses for further testing in clinical trials.
Rhea Coler, the grant's Principal Investigator at IDRI, said, "Thecurrently available vaccine, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), was developed in1921 and fails to protect most people beyond childhood. Innovativetechnologies are urgently required where classical vaccine approaches havebeen shown to be insufficient for tackling a disease that still kills 2million people every year."
From the Latin word adjuvare meaning 'to help', adjuvants are compoundsused to improve the body's immune response to vaccines. Most new adjuvants areowned by large pharmaceutical companies and not easily accessible to academicsand not-for-profit organizations. Based on the conviction that the poorestdeserve the best technologies to fight against infectious diseases, IDRI isdeveloping a library of adjuvants that can be combined to target specificimmune pathways and improve vaccine protection.
"We are very appreciative of the continued NIH support of IDRI's endeavorto develop safe, effective and low-cost adjuvant formulations in the fightagainst neglected diseases," commented Steven Reed, Founder and Head of IDRI'sResearch and Development Program. "This support is essential to harness themost promising technologies so we can deliver an effective TB vaccine asquickly as possible to save potentially millions of lives."
IDRI has received several other grants and contracts from NIAID to supportits TB vaccine effort. A team of more than 30 researchers at IDRI is dedicatedto developing products not only to prevent, but also to detect and treat TB.This three-pronged holistic approach aims to address the most difficultchallenges of this disease and bring the highest value to the globalcommunity.
This announcement follows the award in October 2007 of a five-year $29million grant to IDRI from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for thedevelopment of adjuvants suitable for use in malaria vaccine candidates.
IDRI -- Translating science into global health solutions
IDRI is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization committed to applyingthe most innovative science to the research and development of products toprevent, detect and treat infectious diseases of poverty. By integratingcapabilities, IDRI strives to create an efficient pathway bringing scientificinnovation from the lab to the people who need it most. For more information,go to http://www.idri.org.
The project described is supported by Grant U01AI078054 from the NationalInstitute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The content is solely theresponsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the officialviews of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases or theNational Institutes of Health.