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Sweden's Bioption, IAVI partnering to develop globally accessible AIDS vaccines

May 06, 2002

Novel vaccine candidates to use design developed at the Karolinska Institute; human trials targeted to begin in two years

6 May 2002—Swedish biotechnology firm Bioption AB is partnering with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to develop and test a new approach for vaccines that can train the immune system to protect against HIV/AIDS. The vaccines are being built from a proprietary technology, SFV alphavirus replicons, pioneered by scientists at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden's premier biomedical research institute.

The nonprofit IAVI is financing and coordinating the research, with the goal of starting human testing of SFV-based AIDS vaccines within two years. Bioption and IAVI have agreed to use their joint ownership of any successful AIDS vaccines to provide them to developing countries rapidly and at reasonable prices.

The Bioption-IAVI team expands the roster of European countries partnering with IAVI to accelerate the development and testing of AIDS vaccines. Scientists and biotechnology companies in the UK, Germany and Switzerland are collaborating with IAVI on other AIDS vaccines. The governments of the Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Denmark and Norway provide financial support to IAVI.

Over the next few years, Bioption-IAVI SFV vaccines will be tested to evaluate their individual safety and effectiveness—as well as their promise relative to other vaccines in the IAVI pipeline. IAVI's strategy is to speed the search for a winning vaccine by pursuing a diverse portfolio of possibilities, now numbering more than a half dozen candidates. IAVI hopes to advance the most promising two or three of its vaccines to large-scale, final-stage studies by 2007.

IAVI is a global nonprofit organization working to speed the search for vaccines to prevent HIV and AIDS and help guarantee that future vaccines will be rapidly available to all.