GSK, Aeras partner for TB vaccine trial

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) will work with nonprofit biotech Aeras to test a tuberculosis vaccine in Africa and India, making headway in developing new ways to prevent the disease.

After promising early-stage clinical trials of GSK's TB vaccine candidate, the partners will conduct a Phase IIb trial in Kenya, India and South Africa next year pending approvals from authorities. Both GSK and Aeras will provide resources to test the vaccine candidate in healthy adults between ages 18 and 50.

"When considering the massive public health impact and costs to society of neglected diseases including tuberculosis, global financing for R&D remains critically low in this area," Jim Connolly, president and CEO of Aeras, said in a release. "Working in partnership with GSK--sharing resources, capabilities and know-how--affords us the opportunity to conduct this pivotal, multicountry proof-of-concept trial, getting us that much closer to potentially one day having a TB vaccine that could protect adolescents and adults from one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases."

The TB vaccine Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) prevents some forms of the disease, but not pulmonary TB--and that's the one responsible for the majority of infections and deaths. GSK and Aeras plan to use their candidate in conjunction with BCG.

TB kills an estimated 1.4 million people a year and is a growing threat around the world.

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