April 2008

In this issue:

 

 

Welcome to the latest edition of Vaccines for the Future, bringing you updates on PATH’s work to advance new vaccines against pneumonia, diarrheal disease, and influenza for the developing world. As our program continues to expand, we are delighted to share several new partnerships to support our work to develop new vaccines against pneumococcal and enteric diseases. We are also pleased to welcome new staff to lead our efforts to develop new vaccines against seasonal and pandemic influenza. 

This issue also highlights key upcoming events, as well as links to several new resources and publications that may be of interest. We hope these updates provide you with helpful information about our work, and we will continue to share important news about our progress in vaccine development.

 

Sincerely,

 

John W. Boslego, MD

Director, Vaccine Development Program

PATH

 

New research agreement to develop temperature stable enteric vaccine formulations

PATH has entered an agreement with ACE Biosciences, a Danish biotechnology company, to develop temperature stable, oral enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) vaccine formulations. PATH and ACE Biosciences will work together to develop spray- or freeze-dried ETEC vaccines, which would not require refrigerated storage. The pilot studies will use ACE527, ACE Biosciences’ live whole-cell oral vaccine candidate. Such easily stored vaccines would support the routine, widespread vaccination of children in developing countries.

 

This new agreement is part of PATH’s project to develop vaccines against two of the leading bacterial causes of diarrheal disease, Shigella and ETEC. The project’s scientific advisory board reviewed more than 35 responses to PATH’s request for letters of intent at a meeting in February, and negotiations are now ongoing with several selected companies to form additional research and vaccine development agreements and expand PATH’s portfolio in this area.

 

New collaborations for pneumococcal vaccine development

PATH has formed two new partnerships to support the development of new, appropriate pneumococcal vaccines for developing-world populations. PATH is working with both of these groups to study immunization with pneumococcal proteins. With the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle, Washington, PATH is conducting a preclinical study to evaluate the impact of adjuvants on immunization with pneumococcal proteins. PATH is also collaborating with the Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa to evaluate the effect of natural colonization by S. pneumoniae on the systemic and mucosal immune responses to common pneumococcal protein antigens.

 

These agreements will support PATH’s project focused on advancing pneumococcal vaccine development and evaluation. PATH will continue to build its portfolio through negotiations with several other organizations, and additional partnerships will be formed later this year.

 

Moving toward increased protection against influenza

PATH is pleased to welcome two new staff members to lead its recently launched project focused on accelerating the development of new influenza vaccines for the global population. Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, whose considerable professional experience in influenza biology, epidemiology, and vaccinology is internationally recognized, will serve as the project director. She is chair of the Pandemic Influenza Task Force for the Infectious Disease Society of America and the Influenza Working Group for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. For the past three years, Dr. Neuzil has been working with PATH’s Rotavirus Vaccine Program and Japanese Encephalitis Project. In addition, Dr. Rick Bright has joined the team as scientific director, bringing more than ten years experience in vaccine research and development. Most recently, Dr. Bright served as the vice president for global influenza programs at a Maryland-based vaccine company, Novavax, Inc., where he was responsible for overseeing two influenza vaccine candidates in clinical trials.

 

In March, PATH issued a request for letters of intent to identify partners for advancing the development of new pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines. Proposals are invited under two categories—vaccine development and evaluation, and research activities in support of safe and effective immunization of populations in developing countries. Letters of intent are due May 19, 2008.

 

World Health Organization launches public database to track avian influenza samples

The World Health Organization (WHO) has set up a new online public database to track strains of avian influenza virus from around the world. The database includes all virus samples that countries have shared with WHO since November 2007, indicating which H5N1 viruses/specimens have been shared with WHO, where they are located, analyses that have been conducted, further development into H5N1 vaccine viruses, and recipients of the vaccine viruses and other viruses. The system is still in development and data entry is ongoing. However, the interim version of the database is currently available on the WHO website.

 

Upcoming conferences and events

·         Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza 2008, Arlington, VA, USA, May 18 to 20, 2008. This conference brings together health care, government, and other key stakeholders in influenza planning and control. The meeting will result in recommendations for future research and interventions to address unmet needs, as well as how the developing world can address pandemic priorities. PATH’s Dr. Kathleen Neuzil will provide a keynote address and participate in panel discussions on global pandemic preparedness and vaccine delivery.

·         Global Health Council’s 35th Annual International Conference, Washington, DC, USA, May 29 to June 1, 2008. This conference gathers leaders in the global health field to discuss key issues and create innovative solutions to leading public health concerns. This year’s conference theme is “Community Health: Delivering, Serving, Engaging, Leading.” In addition to hosting a booth in the exhibition hall, several PATH staff will present and moderate sessions at this year’s conference.

·         Eighth International Rotavirus Symposium, Istanbul, Turkey, June 3 to 4, 2008. PATH is pleased to help sponsor this international meeting on rotavirus. The conference brings together scientists, policymakers, economists, public health experts, and the donor community to address scientific, social, and economic issues confronting rotavirus prevention and vaccine introduction. PATH staff will lead several sessions at the conference on topics including the future of rotavirus vaccine research and vaccines and other interventions for diarrheal disease control.

·         Sixth International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases (ISPPD), Reykjavik, Iceland, June 8 to 12, 2008. PATH is pleased to help sponsor this conference and looks forward to sharing updates on its pneumococcal vaccine project. Attendees will learn about the latest scientific achievements, exchange ideas, strengthen ongoing research collaborations, and establish new collaborations on pneumococcal disease. PATH will host an exhibition booth, as well as a luncheon on advocacy for pneumococcal disease. Additionally, PATH’s Dr. Mark Alderson will present on the future of pneumococcal vaccine development.

 

PATH resources

Advancing New Rotavirus Vaccines fact sheet

Developing New Vaccines Against Diarrheal Disease fact sheet

Advancing New Vaccines Against a Global Threat fact sheet

Developing New Vaccines Against Pneumonia fact sheet

The Road to Safe and Effective Vaccines: Clinical Trials and Their Role in Providing Lifesaving Vaccines fact sheet

PATH’s Vaccine Resource Library

 

 

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 influenza vaccines for the global population. PATH is also partnering on vaccine development through its Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Meningitis Vaccine Program. Additionally, PATH works to ensure the worldwide availability of vaccines through its Immunization Solutions program. The work of the vaccine development program is currently supported by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

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.