In the world of research and development, we often speak of new discoveries that lead to innovation. While this is a hugely important part of science, innovation is not enough.
For new technologies – vaccines, drugs, diagnostics – to reach people who need them, local involvement, production, acceptance and uptake is critical.
In the future, resource-limited countries will produce solutions to their own problems – whether it’s to combat an endemic disease like tuberculosis or to mount a rapid response to an emerging disease outbreak such as Zika or Ebola. IDRI is proud to play a pioneering role in enabling state-of-the-art technologies – not yesterday’s leftovers but innovation to be embraced by those in need – to be produced on the ground in developing countries and delivered at a cost that is viable for all. For the first time, those in need will be among the first to receive the solutions as opposed to the last.
At IDRI, we are focused on adjuvant formulations that have an excellent record of safety and can be manufactured at centers around the world to decrease cost while increasing speed of development. Through local partnerships, production and transfer of this technology, we have the opportunity to make effective vaccines more available in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America.
We’ve shown this through our work in creating Afrigen, a South Africa-based company focused on developing and manufacturing vaccines and biologics. In Brazil, we’re collaborating with two biotech organizations, sharing vaccine formulation technology with Cimatec and manufacturing antigen for Orygen’s schistosomiasis vaccine clinical trial. IDRI recently partnered with Quratis, a biotech located in South Korea, to enable the cost-effective production of human and veterinary vaccines that can be widely distributed across Asia and the rest of the world.
There’s another side to the translation taking place here at IDRI: moving our research into clinical trials, a critical step in the development of new infectious disease products.
This year, we are concluding a Phase 2a trial in South Africa of IDRI’s tuberculosis vaccine candidate to determine the vaccine’s safety and ability to induce a potent immune response. We also moved our leprosy vaccine candidate into clinical development here in the U.S.; this is a huge step forward for the first vaccine developed solely for protection against this devastating disease.
Soon, we’ll have news to share about three more clinical trials we are taking part in. And, we are moving our most promising preclinical products, including vaccines against Zika virus, pandemic influenza and varicella, from the bench to people across the world who need protection from these emerging threats.
At IDRI, innovation and translation go hand-in-hand as we explore new opportunities that will help us fulfill our mission. As we approach our 25th anniversary in 2018, you’ll see IDRI:
• Expand our infectious disease focus to include more viral diseases and oncological targets
• Use our expertise to contribute to elimination campaigns for neglected tropical diseases
• Explore the potential of using our vaccines and adjuvants as therapies
• Determine how to increase efficacy of existing vaccines using our adjuvants
• Refine our RNA vaccine platform, allowing faster vaccine development during disease outbreaks
We are committed to improving the health of all people. By translating our technologies to others and by moving our products forward in clinical development, we can achieve this goal.
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What Sets IDRI Apart
IDRI often describes itself as a “nonprofit biotech.” We merge the best aspects of industry – clear focus on the rapid development of products that are widely available – and academia – deep, thoughtful basic research that fuels scientific discovery and innovation – to fulfill our mission. Here’s what makes us unique in the field of global health.
We conduct research from the beginning to the end of the discovery pipeline, from basic research all the way through to advanced-phase clinical trials in humans. This year, two IDRI vaccines – one for tuberculosis and one for leprosy – are in clinical trials. “The key components of these vaccines – antigens and adjuvants – were researched and developed here,” said Corey Casper, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer. “The adjuvant formulations were manufactured here. The clinical trial design was developed here. It’s a unique set of knowledge, talent and mission-focus that allows this to happen at IDRI.”
We possess broad expertise in the field of adjuvants, which are critical components of vaccines and therapeutics that selectively enhance the immune system. While there are many factors that contribute to IDRI’s adjuvant expertise, Darrick Carter, PhD, Vice President of Adjuvant Technology said, “The proof is in the fact that we are in late stage human trials with good data, which is why international companies come to us to partner.”
We are committed to sharing our immune-enhancing technologies so people everywhere across the globe have access to life-saving approaches to infectious disease. “We identify partners and mechanisms to transfer our technology and immediately expand access to the global stage,” explained Dan Stinchcomb, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer.