The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation of Bethesda, Md., and Vanderbilt University of Nashville, Tenn., announced today that the two organizations had executed an exclusive license for a tuberculosis vaccine based on technology developed at
and the Nashville VA Medical Center.
Under the agreement,
is providing Aeras with an exclusive license to develop and market Vanderbilt’s pro-apoptotic bacterial vaccine technology for human vaccination against tuberculosis. Aeras is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing new TB vaccines and distributing them to people in areas of the world hardest hit by the disease.
The new tuberculosis vaccine is a modified version of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), called “pro-apoptotic BCG”, in which BCG’s production of anti-apoptotic factors has been reduced. This modification enhances the vaccine’s ability to induce strong immune responses. The pro-apoptotic bacterial vaccine technology was developed by Dr. Douglas Kernodle and Dr. Markian Bochan in the course of TB pathogenesis research at Vanderbilt and the Nashville VA Medical Center.
“Currently one-third of the world’s population is infected with TB, and every second one more person is newly infected. A new vaccine is the best hope for defeating this terrible disease,” said Dr. Jerald Sadoff, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation. “We are excited about using Vanderbilt’s technology for developing an effective vaccine against TB.”
“BCG provides inadequate protection against pulmonary TB, fails to induce strong memory immune responses, and occasionally even causes infection in severely immune compromised persons” said Dr. Kernodle, the David E. Rogers Professor of Medicine at
. “We are pleased to put this technology, which modifies BCG in a manner that addresses each of these problems, into the hands of the dedicated people at Aeras who share our passion for eradicating TB.”
Dr. Sadoff added, “The agreement with
is an important step towards the development of a new TB vaccine, which the world so desperately needs.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently awarded Aeras a grant of USD$82.9 million for new TB vaccine development. Aeras works with leading public and private organizations around the world to bring an improved TB vaccine to market within the next 7 to 10 years.
TB is an enormous and deadly problem in the developing world, killing millions of people in the prime of their lives every year. The increased incidence of TB is a consequence of the spread of HIV/AIDS, the emergence of multi-drug resistant strains of TB and variability in protective efficacy of the only currently available vaccine, BCG. The World Health Organization estimates that each year there are 8 million new cases of TB, and 2 million people die of the disease.
While TB can be treated with drugs, the basic therapeutic regimen requires at least six months to complete and as many as four different drugs need to be taken. Although the existing BCG vaccine offers protection against the most serious forms of TB in childhood, its efficacy wanes over a period of 10-15 years after the vaccination. An alternative vaccination or supplementary approach is urgently needed.
About Aeras: The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation (www.aeras.org) is a nonprofit organization working through Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) to develop new tuberculosis vaccines and ensure that they are distributed to all who need them around the world. Aeras is led by Dr. Jerald C. Sadoff, who has been associated with the development of 10 licensed commercial vaccines and worked on research and development of numerous other vaccine candidates while at Merck and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
: Vanderbilt is one of the nation’s foremost academic medical centers. Its program of bio-medical research is the fastest growing in the country and topped $350 million is sponsored research yearly. Its
trains physicians and physician scientists and is widely recognized among the top medical schools by U.S. News and World Report. Vanderbilt physicians and providers see almost 1 million patients a year in more than 100 clinics. Almost 40,000 patients are admitted annually into the
, Children’s Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital and the
For further information please contact:
Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation –
Rita Khanna (301-547-2922, email@example.com), or
Bruce Kirschenbaum (301-547-2917, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bill Snyder (615-322-4747, email@example.com).