Seattle BioMed, an independent, nonprofit organization focused solely on infectious disease research, has received a seven-year Integrated Preclinical/Clinical AIDS Vaccine Development (IPCAVD) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to develop a vaccine that would elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV-1.
Seattle BioMed will lead a consortium comprised of the Rockefeller University, the University of Washington, Seattle Children's Hospital and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The investigators will receive $9.8 million over seven years to fund the initial phase of the project, which will include the optimization and preclinical evaluation of two vaccine candidates. The second phase of the project will include the production of these vaccines according to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and the evaluation of their safety and immunogenicity in a phase I clinical trial.
"This grant brings together experts in vaccine-design, immunology and clinical evaluation of HIV/AIDS vaccines," said Alan Aderem, Ph.D., president, Seattle BioMed. "This multi-disciplinary collaboration will accelerate the delivery of a novel and effective vaccine to patients." As the IPCAVD program principal investigator, Leonidas Stamatatos, Ph.D., professor and scientific director, Seattle BioMed, will lead the initial phase of the project, which includes the optimization of immunogens. Noah Sather, Ph.D., principal scientist, Seattle BioMed; David Rawlings, M.D., Seattle Children's Research Institute; and Michel Nussenzweig, M.D., Ph. D., Rockefeller University will co-lead the preclinical evaluation of immunogens, while Julie McElrath, M.D., Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and HIV Vaccine Trials Network, will oversee the clinical testing of immunogens.
Stamatatos said, "The HIV-1 epidemic remains a significant threat to global health, with over 3 million AIDS-related deaths each year. While access to anti-retroviral therapies has increased, the best route of defeating the epidemic remains a universally effective HIV-1 vaccine."