IAVI works with partners around the world to hasten the development of effective AIDS vaccines.
One way the organization has done so is through the Innovation Fund—a mechanism established in 2008 in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to harness early-stage technologies that have the potential to significantly advance AIDS vaccine development.
The Innovation Fund has supported short-term, high-risk, proof-of-concept studies on promising technologies’ applicability to AIDS vaccine development. These grants not only are helping to advance the AIDS vaccine pipeline, they also are helping companies establish proof of concept for their new technologies, which start-ups are using to win financial support and lucrative product development partnerships with other firms.
Examples of grants awarded by the Innovation Fund include:
Theraclone Sciences: This partnership resulted in the isolation of more than 20 new broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV. The close study of these antibodies could help transform basic approaches to AIDS vaccine design. Having established the utility of its platform technology through IAVI’s Antibody Project, Theraclone went on to establish joint ventures with Pfizer and Japan-based Zenyaku Kogyo for drug and vaccine discovery potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Algonomics: This partnership resulted in a new in vitro test to predict the immunogenicity of HIV vaccine antigens, a capability that has the potential to help accelerate AIDS vaccine development. Algonomics was subsequently purchased by Lonza in 2009.