Welcome to the latest issue of Vaccines for the Future!
We are pleased to announce four exciting new grants for the vaccine development program at PATH, one of which adds a new disease target to our portfolio: polio. This issue also features new partnerships for the pneumococcal and respiratory syncytial virus vaccine projects, as well as news from our rotavirus vaccine project on an initiative related to vaccine delivery devices. In addition, we are launching a new regular section in the newsletter to provide brief updates on progress made with our clinical trials. Finally, we highlight new additions to PATH’s Vaccine Resource Library and include our regular updates on upcoming conferences, new resources, and current job opportunities.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to share a link to our new website for the Vaccine Development Global Program. This new site is dedicated solely to our program’s work and includes the most up-to-date information about our projects, partnerships, and progress. You may notice that many of our project links in the newsletter now go to pages on this site; we hope you enjoy exploring our new website.
As always, we also hope you continue to find this newsletter useful and informative, and we welcome your feedback.
John W. Boslego, MD
Director,Vaccine Development Global Program
New funding includes support for development of polio and rotavirus vaccines
- A 3-year, US$4,959,794 grant to provide technical support to the manufacturers of high-quality, low-cost polio vaccines needed to help achieve eradication and maintain protection post-eradication.
- A 3-year, $3,839,144 award to supplement the rotavirus vaccine impact project, which is investigating ways to improve the performance of currently available rotavirus vaccines and gathering evidence on the impact of current rotavirus vaccines as they are introduced in low-resource, high-burden communities.
- A 5-year, follow-on grant of $15,740,726 to support the development and early clinical testing of non-replicating rotavirus vaccines, exploring alternative approaches to the current live, oral vaccines.
- A 1-year, $1,408,325 project to support the Chinese National Biotec Group by assessing readiness at six of their manufacturing facilities to meet new Chinese manufacturing standards and World Health Organization prequalification requirements.
Pneumococcal vaccine preclinical proof-of-concept studies to advance under new partnership
PATH recently entered into a collaboration agreement with Liquidia Technologies (PDF)
to conduct preclinical proof-of-concept studies on a next-generation pneumococcal vaccine. The strategy is to use Liquidia’s particle technology called PRINT (Particle Replication in Non-Wetting Templates) to bring together pneumococcal proteins and polysaccharides in a way that could potentially allow for broadened efficacy and manufacturing efficiencies, helping to ease vaccine accessibility. Overall, the partnership supports the efforts of PATH’s pneumococcal vaccine project to improve the availability and affordability of pneumococcal vaccines for low-resource countries where the need is greatest.
Respiratory syncytial virus vaccine project establishes new partnership
Through a new collaboration with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), PATH’s respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine project
and a team led by Dr. Barney Graham of NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center, are working to optimize a standardized platform for the RSV neutralization assay. The goal is to improve the accuracy, reproducibility, and efficiency of measuring neutralizing antibody responses. This new platform, which will be made available to the scientific community, will be an important step toward providing vaccine developers a method to uniformly assess and compare neutralizing antibody as a correlate of protection across RSV vaccine candidates.
Ensuring effective packaging and delivery of new rotavirus vaccines
PATH’s vaccine technologies group has been exploring the field of devices for the packaging and delivery of oral rotavirus vaccines, resulting in a new toolkit for manufacturers developing the bovine-human reassortant vaccine (BRV). The toolkit allows manufacturers to compare and contrast certain characteristics when evaluating and then selecting future packaging and presentation combinations for different populations. PATH’s
rotavirus vaccine development project supports several emerging-country manufacturers actively developing the BRV through a “shared technology platform,” featuring a host of technologies, training, methodologies, and material. PATH is continuing this work with a health worker assessment study beginning in early 2012, which will further evaluate the most promising delivery device options.
In other news, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced
in December 2011 the “suspension of supply through the United Nations of hepatitis B vaccine (Revac-B+) manufactured by Bharat Biotech International, Ltd. (BBIL) and termination of prequalification procedures for current applications for other vaccines from BBIL,” based on a site audit WHO conducted in September 2011. PATH is working in partnership with BBIL on the Phase 3 efficacy trial of its rotavirus vaccine candidate, 116E. The 116E vaccine was not involved in the WHO audit, and the clinical trial has not been affected by this announcement.
- November 2011: The Phase 3 efficacy trial of the 116E human monovalent rotavirus vaccine completed its enrollment of 6,800 infants at three sites in India.
- December 2011: The enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) challenge model refinement study enrolled a new cohort of 30 adults in Baltimore, Maryland. This extends a 2009 trial to confirm if an even lower ETEC challenge dose can provide useful data about a vaccine candidate’s effectiveness.
New on PATH’s Vaccine Resource Library
Recent additions to PATH’s Vaccine Resource Library include:
Upcoming conferences and events
- Phacilitate’s North American Vaccine Forum, Washington, DC, January 30 to February 1. Dr. Richard Walker, director of PATH’s enteric vaccine project, will present and Dr. John Boslego will serve on two panel discussions.
- 8th International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases, Iguaçu Falls, Brazil, March 11 to 15. PATH is co-sponsoring the meeting, will have a booth in the exhibition hall, and Dr. Sheau-Mei Cheng, program officer for PATH’s pneumococcal vaccine project, will present a poster, and Dr. Mark Alderson, director of PATH’s pneumococcal vaccine project, will co-chair a session.
- 4th Annual World Congress of Vaccine, Beijing, China, March 26 to 28. Dr. Richard Walker will chair a session and present, and Dr. Sheau-Mei Cheng will present.
New PATH resources
PATH’s vaccine development program has several open positions listed below. Please visit the employment opportunity web page for all open PATH positions.
View past issues of Vaccines for the Future
PATH’s vaccine development program is working to accelerate the development of innovative, safe, effective, and affordable vaccines against the leading causes of childhood deaths in the developing world, pneumonia (pneumococcal disease) and diarrheal disease (rotavirus, Shigella, and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli),
as well as new vaccines for the global population against influenza, meningitis, polio, and respiratory syncytial virus. PATH is also partnering on vaccine development through its Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Meningitis Vaccine Project. Additionally, PATH works to ensure the worldwide availability of vaccines through its vaccine access and delivery program. The work of the vaccine development program is currently supported by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Research Council of Norway, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. Some projects within the vaccine development program are funded by PATH Vaccine Solutions.
Learn more about PATH’s work
PATH is now sending periodic email updates highlighting programmatic activities from throughout the organization. Find out what we’re working on, where we’ll be presenting our work, and what new publications and tools are available. Sign up for PATH’s email updates.