NEW YORK and TOKYO — October 13, 2023 — IAVI, a nonprofit scientific research organization, and Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), the primary infectious disease research institute funded by the Government of Japan, have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their international cooperation for research and development (R&D) to control infectious diseases.
The partners agreed to explore collaborative R&D programs to advance vaccine- and antibody -related technologies and products, including conducting trials of products developed or provided by NIID with IAVI’s network of clinical research center partners across Africa and India. Additionally, the partners will seek opportunities to develop human resources by exchange of scientists across the two organizations and their network of research and clinical facilities.
“We are very much pleased to sign the MOU with IAVI, a pioneer in the field of public-private partnerships for vaccine development. IAVI has expertise and resources, including its impressive network of clinical trial research center partners in Africa, that could contribute greatly to NIID’s and Japan’s effort to strengthen capacity for vaccine R&D, especially in the context of pandemic preparedness and response. We look forward to fruitful collaboration with IAVI in the future,” said Dr. Takaji WAKITA, NIID Director-General.
“Japan has been an invaluable partner to IAVI in HIV vaccine development for over a decade and a key leader in supporting global health research both domestically and globally,” said Mark Feinberg, M.D., Ph.D., IAVI president and CEO. “We are honored and gratified to sign the memorandum of understanding with NIID, Japan’s leading research organization with a long history and outstanding achievements. This agreement reinforces our commitment to shared goals of combatting infectious diseases, and we look forward to expanding our collaboration and accelerating global translational research with NIID.”
This announcement builds on years of IAVI’s partnership with the Government of Japan, which, since 2010 has provided significant investment in IAVI’s viral vector HIV vaccine research, beginning with the Japan-originated Sendai virus vector technology, developed by Dr. Tetsuro Matano, now the Deputy Director-General of NIID. A vaccine candidate based on this technology was evaluated in a clinical trial by IAVI in Rwanda, Kenya, and the U.K. It was the first Japan-originated vaccine candidate to be tested in Africa. Japan’s support has since enabled IAVI to apply the viral vector platform technology to a range of urgent global health threats, including COVID-19, also funded by Japan, and Lassa fever—and this expanded partnership offers an opportunity to further utilize the platform.
The NIID is a government-funded organization that aims at carrying out extensive and original research projects on a variety of contagious diseases from the standpoint of preventive medicine, improving human health and welfare by suppressing infectious diseases, and clarifying and supporting the scientific background of health and medical administration of the government. The functions of NIID include research activities, reference services for infectious diseases, surveillance of infectious diseases, national control tests and other tests, international cooperation, and training.