Rockville/Berlin, 12 November 2010 The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation is pleased to announce that the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs has renewed its funding to Aeras with a pledge of an additional ?11.7 million over four years (2011-2014) to further its efforts to develop new vaccines to help combat the global epidemic of tuberculosis.
This expression of support represents a continuation in the long-standing collaboration between the Dutch government, Aeras and its research partners. This is the second grant to Aeras from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representing a total commitment of ?30.4 million to Aeras since 2006.
"The forward movement of TB vaccine candidates in the development pipeline owes a great deal to the generous support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the people of the Netherlands," said Jim Connolly, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation. "We are extraordinarily grateful for their foresight and steadfast support of these potentially life saving efforts."
TB is one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases, killing nearly 2 million men, women and children every year. Despite global efforts to prevent and treat TB, the epidemic is becoming more complex and difficult to diagnose and treat due in large part to the emergence of drug-resistant forms of TB and the emergence of the HIV epidemic. TB is responsible for the majority of AIDS deaths in Africa.
New TB vaccines are urgently needed. The currently available vaccine, Bacille Calmette-Guérin, provides some protection against pediatric TB but is unreliable in protecting adult pulmonary TB, the most common form of the disease. As a product development partnership, Aeras collaborates and facilitates research in conjunction with numerous scientists in academic, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and government research centers around the world to develop safer and more immunogenic TB vaccines. Globally, nine TB vaccine candidates are currently undergoing clinical testing, and of those, four are directly supported and led by Aeras and its network.
Since the Netherlands's first grant to Aeras and its partners in 2006, four TB vaccine candidates in Aeras' product portfolio have moved into clinical testing in Europe, North America and Africa. Two of those are at the Phase II proof of concept stage and will enroll infants in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique.