The National Institutes of Health has awarded $8.67 million to Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio and Mymetics Corporation of Switzerland to collaborate on the development of an HIV vaccine.
Mymetics, a Swiss-based biotechnology company which has a research lab in the Netherlands, focuses on the development of next-generation preventative vaccines for infectious and life disabling diseases. Texas Biomedical Research Institute is one of the world’s leading independent biomedical research institutions.
Also participating in the study are researchers from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Virginia.
The goal of the joint project is to produce a vaccine that is easy to administer and does not need to be refrigerated, both important considerations for clinics in the developing world where AIDS is most prevalent.
Mymetics previously started work on a vaccine in powdered form which can be administered through the nose or orally. Working with Texas Biomedical, Mymetics will seek to prepare the vaccine for clinical trials within five years.
Dr. Ruth Ruprecht, director of the Texas Biomed AIDS Research Program, told KENS-TV that tests of the vaccine first will be conducted on non-human primates. “We need to have an animal model that replicates the biology of HIV transmission and progression in people,” she said.
“We are extremely grateful for the trust and support from the NIH for our project, it will enable the continued progress of our cold chain, independent virosome-based HIV vaccine candidate,” Ronald Kempers, CEO of Mymetics, said in a press announcement. “We will be able to prepare it for clinical trials in collaboration with world leading HIV scientists . . . and our longstanding partner Texas Biomed.”