Duke wins federal contract to produce vaccine candidates

The Duke Human Vaccine Institute in Durham, N.C., has inked a contract with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to manufacture vaccine candidates for HIV and other viruses. 

Through the contract, the institute is eligible to compete for federal projects that involve producing investigational vaccines for use in early clinical trials, a Dec. 14 news release said. The contract could be worth up to $365 million over seven years if fully funded. 

Duke University is one of just a few academic institutions in the country capable of producing pharmaceutical-grade vaccines for research, according to Thomas Denny, COO at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute and principal investigator on the new contract.

NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health, issued the contract through a new program that aims to accelerate the development of vaccines and other therapies. The most promising vaccine candidates are often licensed to drugmakers at the clinical trial stage, but many others are ignored and never make it to clinical trials, Duke said. 

"This is what we consider the most vulnerable period of development," Mr. Denny said in the news release. "Researchers often get an interesting discovery and the data are promising, but they can't get funding for a clinical trial in humans, so this program addresses that."

 Learn more here.

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