Seattle, WA | December 4, 2007

The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), a Seattle-based nonprofit scientific research institute, announced today that it has received a $29,947,850 five year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will be used to provide adjuvants (essential components for many vaccines) for priority malaria vaccine candidates. Advances arising from this project are likely also to facilitate development of vaccines against other neglected diseases.

Adjuvants are vaccine components that, when appropriately formulated and combined with an antigen, direct the immune system to give an effective response while boosting the potency and longevity of the specific immune responses. Most adjuvants are owned by large pharmaceutical companies and not easily accessible to researchers developing vaccines for neglected diseases. IDRI seeks to provide the public sector with safe, effective, low-cost adjuvants through component testing and licensing, product improvement, development of adjuvant-antigen formulations, and the creation of an adjuvant library.

With this grant, IDRI will focus on adjuvants for malaria vaccines. Because malaria parasites have a complex life cycle, creating an effective vaccine is a major scientific challenge. Worldwide, every year between 350 million and 500 million people are infected with malaria and more than 1 million die from this preventable disease. To accelerate the fight against malaria, IDRI will obtain access to adjuvants with proven clinical potential in malaria vaccines and will develop next-generation adjuvant formulations for malaria vaccine candidates.

“This grant enables IDRI to help advance the development of malaria vaccines,” said Dr. Steven Reed, Founder and Head of IDRI’s Research and Development Program. “We are honored that the Gates Foundation has provided this opportunity and look forward to working with researchers in the field of malaria.”

IDRI, in partnership with the World Health Organization in Geneva, will work closely with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and other agencies and investigators to select priority malaria antigens for preliminary development and testing of these adjuvant formulations.

About IDRI

The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization committed to applying innovative science to the research and development of products to prevent, detect, and treat infectious diseases of poverty. By integrating capabilities, including early stage drug discovery, preclinical testing, manufacturing, and clinical trials, IDRI strives to create an efficient pathway bringing scientific innovation from the laboratory to the people who need it most. For more information, visit www.idri.org.

IDRI contact:
Erik Iverson | 206.518.6280 | media@idri.org