IDRI and Aeras sign TB vaccine agreement

The Infectious Disease Research Institute and Aeras signed a new agreement on Wednesday to conduct joint development activities for IDRI's novel tuberculosis vaccine candidate.

ID93/GLA-SE, the vaccine candidate, is composed of a recombinant fusion-protein antigen and GLA, the institute's proprietary adjuvant. The candidate targets active and latent TB and may be able to protect individuals prophylactically with or without the Bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccine. Once reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a phase I clinical trial to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of the drug could begin later this year.

"Tuberculosis is one of the most widespread, persistent and deadly global health problems," Steven Reed, IDRI's founder of and chief scientific officer, said. "Given Aeras' focus and breadth of experience in supporting the clinical development of tuberculosis vaccines, we believe this collaboration will speed the development of this promising new vaccine."

Pre-clinical studies showed that ID93/GLA-SE had an acceptable safety profile in animals and showed substantial protection against TB-causing mycobacterium tuberculosis with and without previous BCG priming.

"Aeras is pleased to collaborate in the clinical development of this promising tuberculosis vaccine candidate," Jim Connolly, Aeras' president and CEO, said. "We look forward to sharing resources and expertise with a like-minded organization also committed to saving the lives and livelihoods of the millions of people who will otherwise succumb to this devastating disease."

Tuberculosis is the second deadliest infectious disease in the world, with 8.8 million new cases in 2010. The IDRI is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization with the goal of combining innovative science with research and development of products meant to prevent, detect and treat infectious diseases connected to poverty. Aeras is a non-profit product development organization with the goal of developing effective vaccines and biologics to prevent TB.