Skip to main content

University of Tokyo Researcher and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Enter Into AIDS Vaccine Development Collaboration

September 20, 2007

TOKYO & NEW YORK, September 20, 2007—The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a global organization working to speed the development of preventive AIDS vaccines, will collaborate on the development of a novel AIDS vaccine technology with University of Tokyo faculty member Tetsuro Matano, IAVI announced today. Professor Matano, MD, PhD, will act as a scientific advisor and provide expert technical advice to IAVI in connection with the organization’s research and development of an AIDS vaccine candidate using the Sendai virus as a vector to deliver HIV antigens that, researchers hope, will stimulate protective immunity against HIV. IAVI plans to develop and advance into clinical trials a Sendai-based AIDS vaccine candidate in partnership with DNAVEC Corporation, a biotech company based in Tsukaba, Japan.

Professor Matano, head of the Division of Microbial Infection at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science, is one of the scientists at the forefront of Sendai vector research. His studies have demonstrated that Burmese macaque monkeys can be protected against SIV, a virus that causes a disease in some non-human primates that is similar to AIDS, if vaccinated intra-nasally using a Sendai-based SIV vaccine. This finding paved the way for the development of the Sendai vector as a viable technology for AIDS vaccines.

In July, IAVI entered into a collaboration with DNAVEC to jointly develop an AIDS vaccine candidate using the company’s Sendai virus vector technology. The IAVI-DNAVEC agreement includes pre-clinical testing for immunogenicity and safety, process development for manufacturing, and a Phase I clinical trial for the candidate, with further development to be evaluated after the results of early testing. IAVI and DNAVEC will each contribute scientific and technical expertise, and Professor Matano, who has previously worked with DNAVEC to develop HIV vaccines using the Sendai vector, will serve as an expert advisor to IAVI upon request.

Sendai, an RNA virus that does not cause disease in humans, is a promising vector in part because it elicits mucosal immune responses. Scientists have recently discovered that the primary sites of HIV replication following infection are the gut-associated lymphoid tissues, which are part of the mucosal immune system. It is therefore possible that in order to provide protection against HIV, a vaccine candidate will need to spur mucosal immune responses.

About IAVI
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. Founded in 1996 and operational in 24 countries, IAVI and its network of collaborators research and develop vaccine candidates.  IAVI's financial and in-kind supporters include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, The John D. Evans Foundation, The New York Community Trust, the James B. Pendleton Charitable Trust, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Starr Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; the Governments of Canada, Denmark, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the Basque Autonomous Government as well as the European Union; multilateral organizations such as The World Bank; corporate donors including BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.), Continental Airlines, Google Inc., Henry Schein, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc. and Pfizer Inc; leading AIDS charities such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Until There's A Cure Foundation; other private donors such as The Haas Trusts; and many generous individuals from around the world.  For more information, see www.iavi.org