IDRI Awarded $790,200 Grant from US Government to Develop Pandemic Flu Vaccine with Cantacuzino Institute

SEATTLE, Dec. 4, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) today announced it has received a $790,200 grant from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The grant enables technology transfer between IDRI and the Cantacuzino National Institute of Research and Development for Microbiology and Immunology (Bucharest, Romania), with the goal of producing a pandemic flu vaccine. The proposed vaccine will be developed using adjuvant formulation production methods developed at IDRI and pandemic influenza antigen from the Cantacuzino Institute.

According to the World Health Organization, a flu pandemic could result in a staggering number of deaths—anywhere from 2 to 7.4 million globally. Adjuvants, or immunostimulants, can improve the body's immune response to diseases like influenza and reduce the amount of vaccine needed for protection (dose-sparing). The use of adjuvants could allow for expansion of vaccine supply to meet the necessary global demands during a pandemic.

"Adjuvanted influenza vaccines have the dual advantage of enhanced immunogenicity and valuable antigen sparing, both crucial in saving lives during pandemics," commented Dr. Gabriel Ionescu, General Director of the Cantacuzino Institute in Bucharest, Romania.

IDRI, with its history of public-private partnerships and international collaborations, is well positioned to effectively team up with those organizations involved in the development of pandemic influenza vaccines.

"We believe our continued investment in innovative technologies for global health could provide a significant contribution toward achieving adequate supplies of pandemic flu vaccine, not only in the US, but in all countries, should an outbreak occur," commented Dr. Christopher Fox, Principal Investigator at IDRI.  

About IDRI's Adjuvants

Adjuvants are compounds used to improve the body's immune response to vaccines. Adjuvant technology is proving invaluable in the development of vaccines for serious diseases for which vaccines are not currently available, including malaria and HIV.

Adjuvants are a key research component of IDRI's malaria, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis and leprosy vaccine development programs—supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Leprosy Missions.

About the Cantacuzino Institute

Established in 1921, the Cantacuzino National Institute of Research and Development for Microbiology and Immunology is the sole institution in Romania's public health sector which successfully integrates national reference laboratories, research, and manufacturing of biological products. Based on this approach, the Institute has produced the country's seasonal influenza vaccine since 1971.

About IDRI – Translating science into global health solutions

IDRI is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization committed to applying innovative science to the research and development of products to prevent, detect, and treat infectious diseases of poverty. By integrating capabilities—including preclinical vaccinology, manufacturing, and clinical trials—IDRI strives to create an efficient pathway bringing scientific innovation from the lab to the people who need it most.

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SOURCE Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI)