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GSK and the Gates Foundation will invest a combined $1.8 million in early stage research into vaccine thermostability.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) announced a joint initiative that will endeavor to make vaccines more resistant to heat, thus reducing the need for refrigeration. GSK and BMGF will invest a combined $1.8 million in early stage research into vaccine thermostability. GSK researchers will explore how to make adjuvants, a critical component of some vaccines, more heat stable.
“Developing a thermostable adjuvant is an important and ambitious goal. This partnership is the starting point for research into an exciting area of biomedical technology that has the potential to overcome a significant and long-standing barrier to vaccine access in developing countries,” commented Emmanuel Hanon, Senior Vice President, Vaccine Discovery and Development, GSK. “At GSK, we believe that by working together we will find innovative solutions to the world’s biggest health problems.”
The project will focus initially on the adjuvant AS01 which is used in GSK’s RTS,S malaria vaccine candidate, currently in late-stage development in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. RTS,S has been designed for use in infants and children from sub-Saharan Africa, where maintaining vaccines at an optimum temperature can be challenging. Developing a method of making AS01 more heat stable could bring a significant public health benefit. The results could also have broader applications for all other AS01-containing vaccines, including vaccines in development by GSK against HIV and tuberculosis.
The Vaccine Discovery Partnership (VxDP), instigated by the BMGF, aims to integrate key players in vaccine development – biotechnology institutions, pharmaceutical companies, non-government organizations (NGOs) and academia – to drive advances in vaccine research and development (R&D) that have the potential to transform global health. Projects funded through the VxDP will look to solve some of the world’s most intractable health problems, including barriers to vaccine access.