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In an effort to accelerate timelines and decrease development costs of life-saving vaccines, the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) and Sanofi Pasteur today announce the establishment of the Global Health Vaccine Center of Innovation (GHVCI), to be headquartered at IDRI in Seattle. This project is funded in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The GHVCI represents an alliance among the three organizations, focused on accelerating the development of vaccines and associated technologies to fight a wide range of global infectious diseases, and ensuring that these critical vaccines are accessible globally, especially to people in need within developing countries.
Each partner will bring its respective world-leading expertise and technologies to the GHVCI and, collectively, the parties will collaborate with a wide range of other vaccine development organizations. Funding for the establishment, operation and growth of the GHVCI will come from Sanofi and the Gates Foundation, and additional funding will be sought to support collaborative research activities with respect to specific vaccines to be developed at the GHVCI.
This distinctive collaboration leverages the potential power of the partners' collective expertise, combining IDRI's vaccine design, formulation and production technologies; Sanofi's position as a leading multi-national vaccine developer, manufacturer and seller; and the Gates Foundation's knowledge, influence and financial support regarding the discovery and development of global health interventions, including vaccines. A key component is the application of IDRI's vaccine adjuvant technologies and formulation expertise, which have been developed over the past few years with strong financial support from the Gates Foundation. These adjuvant technologies are uniquely designed to improve immune responses, broaden vaccine protection and significantly save costs by reducing the amount of vaccine needed.
According to the World Health Organization, vaccines have greatly reduced the burden of infectious diseases, including death tolls, disability and inequity, making "formerly fearsome" diseases a rarity in many parts of the world.
"History has shown us that vaccines are one of the best ways to improve public health, but in today's world, we are faced with a newly emerging infectious diseases, as well as age-old threats, that either have no vaccines or vaccines that are not effective," says Steven G. Reed, PhD, founder, president and chief scientific officer for IDRI. "Combining that with the speed with which infectious diseases can travel the world, we need a new model for vaccine development, one that enables us to rapidly produce vaccines at a lower cost. The blend of the Gates Foundation's knowledge of global health and Sanofi's depth of vaccine development expertise is a perfect match for IDRI's unique technologies and research and development engine, allowing us to take a new approach to vaccine development."
A joint steering committee, comprised of representatives from each of the three partners, will mutually identify areas of research to discover, evaluate and develop novel human vaccines, as well as adjuvant/formulation platforms for the rapid response to emerging pathogens, that can prevent or treat infectious diseases.
Initial funding will be used to establish and operate the GHVCI, build capacity as the collaboration grows, and provide management and scientific recruitment as well as training.
"We are excited to be involved in this novel partnership and proud of the confidence shown in IDRI's technology and our science team's expertise by these two powerhouses, Sanofi and the Gates Foundation," says Erik Iverson, IDRI's president of business and operations. "IDRI has a proven history of developing global health products that have a positive impact. This alliance will significantly accelerate the development of a wide range of vaccines and other health interventions that will save the lives of millions of people globally."
Source: Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI)