Aeras Receives CDC Funding to Develop TB Vaccine Trial Sites in India

BETHESDA, Md. -- Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation today announced a $925,000 cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct epidemiologic studies in preparation for clinical trials of new tuberculosis (TB) vaccines in India.


The funding is renewable for up to three years.  Aeras has received major funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but the cooperative agreement with CDC marks

the first government contribution to Aeras, the world's leading organization

working to develop new vaccines against TB, a bacterial disease that kills 2

million people worldwide each year.


"We look forward to working with the CDC to rapidly move promising vaccine

candidates into clinical trials," said Aeras CEO Dr. Jerald Sadoff. "This

critical support from the U..S government marks significant progress in

addressing the serious shortfall in international TB vaccine funding and will

hasten the day when an effective vaccine is available."


Aeras will work with the CDC and collaborators at the St. John's National

Academy of Health Sciences in Bangalore, India to develop and expand sites for

Phase II and Phase III clinical trials in Palamaner Taluk, Andhra Pradesh,

India.  The cooperative agreement will help Aeras create a professional

development program for staff in India, develop laboratory capacity for TB

diagnosis and referral systems to treat and cure patients, examine TB

incidence and prevalence, and further study TB incidence among newborns and

adolescents in this southern part of India.


The funding will be used to prepare the site to administer later phase

trials of the leading vaccine candidates now being developed by Aeras. The

leading killer of people living with HIV/AIDS, TB represents one of the most

prevalent infectious diseases throughout the world.  The currently-available

vaccine, BCG, is nearly a century old and rarely protects beyond early



Although spending on TB vaccine research accounts for only a small

fraction of funding dedicated to vaccine research for other diseases, TB

vaccine development has made rapid progress in recent years. The Bill &

Melinda Gates Foundation more than doubled the level of global TB vaccine

funding in February 2004 with an $82.9 million grant to Aeras, and it is

likely that at least six phase I trials of TB vaccine candidates will be

initiated between 2002 and 2005. Despite the Gates grant and the promise of

new collaboration with the CDC, Aeras must raise over $250 million to fully

fund its scientific program between now and 2010.


In making the award, the CDC recognized Aeras for "innovative work in

advancing the field of TB vaccine development" and cited the organization's

history of collaboration with international partners in South Africa, Europe

and Asia. The CDC also acknowledged the important field of vaccine development

in combating a disease that has mutated into drug-resistant strains and

requires a complex treatment regimen.


Source: Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation