August 26, 2008
IDRI Receives NIH Funding to Design Adjuvants to Improve New TB Vaccine Protection
SEATTLE, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- IDRI announced today it has been awarded a $6.3 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the development of adjuvant combinations specifically designed to enhance the immune response to new tuberculosis vaccine antigens. This four-year grant will enable the selection of the most promising adjuvant formulations, their evaluation in preclinical models and the development of manufacturing processes for further testing in clinical trials.
Rhea Coler, the grant's Principal Investigator at IDRI, said, "The currently available vaccine, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), was developed in 1921 and fails to protect most people beyond childhood. Innovative technologies are urgently required where classical vaccine approaches have been shown to be insufficient for tackling a disease that still kills 2 million people every year."
From the Latin word adjuvare meaning 'to help', adjuvants are compounds used to improve the body's immune response to vaccines. Most new adjuvants are owned by large pharmaceutical companies and not easily accessible to academics and not-for-profit organizations. Based on the conviction that the poorest deserve the best technologies to fight against infectious diseases, IDRI is developing a library of adjuvants that can be combined to target specific immune pathways and improve vaccine protection.
"We are very appreciative of the continued NIH support of IDRI's endeavor to develop safe, effective and low-cost adjuvant formulations in the fight against neglected diseases," commented Steven Reed, Founder and Head of IDRI's Research and Development Program. "This support is essential to harness the most promising technologies so we can deliver an effective TB vaccine as quickly as possible to save potentially millions of lives."
IDRI has received several other grants and contracts from NIAID to support its TB vaccine effort. A team of more than 30 researchers at IDRI is dedicated to developing products not only to prevent, but also to detect and treat TB. This three-pronged holistic approach aims to address the most difficult challenges of this disease and bring the highest value to the global community.
This announcement follows the award in October 2007 of a five-year $29 million grant to IDRI from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the development 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 applying the most innovative science to the research and development of products to prevent, detect and treat infectious diseases of poverty. By integrating capabilities, IDRI strives to create an efficient pathway bringing scientific innovation 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 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases or the National Institutes of Health.
Web site: http://www.idri.org/