Public Release: 

Vanderbilt University Medical Center joins Human Vaccines Project as first scientific hub

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

NEW YORK AND NASHVILLE, July 13, 2015 - Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), the Human Vaccines Project and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) are pleased to announce that VUMC has become the Project's first scientific hub.

Incubated by IAVI, the Human Vaccines Project is a new public-private partnership that brings together leading academic research centers, industry, governments and nonprofits to accelerate the development of vaccines and immunotherapies against infectious diseases and cancers by decoding the human immune system.

"We are delighted that Vanderbilt University Medical Center will bring its world-class vaccine research and human immunology expertise to the Human Vaccines Project," said Wayne C. Koff, IAVI Chief Scientific Officer and the Project's founder.

Under the collaboration announced today, VUMC has pledged a multi-year commitment toward the Project which will include a large-scale global effort to decipher the "Human Immunome," the basic components of the human immune system, to enhance design of next-generation vaccines and immunotherapies.

"We are pleased to be the Project's flagship scientific partner. Vanderbilt's longstanding commitment to vaccine research and development will allow us to make valuable contributions toward accelerating the creation of new vaccines and therapies necessary to fight significant diseases," said Jeff Balser, M.D. Ph.D., Vanderbilt University's Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine.

The Human Vaccines Project has been incubating over the last year at IAVI, as part of IAVI's commitment to pursuing innovative approaches to accelerate HIV vaccine development. Going forward, VUMC will become the first of several scientific hubs located at leading global academic research centers that will carry out the Human Vaccines Project's Scientific Plan under long-term collaborations.

"IAVI has been proud to incubate this exciting project with catalytic support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and GSK. It has great potential to advance efforts to develop safe and effective vaccines for HIV as well as other global health priorities," said IAVI CEO Margie McGlynn.

Over the last five years, new technologies including genomics, systems biology and bioinformatics have revolutionized human immune monitoring capabilities and offer the potential to transform vaccine and immunotherapy development and, in doing so, change the face of global disease prevention and control.

"Vaccine and immunotherapy development is entering a new era, and large scale global research efforts such as the Human Vaccines Project linking industry and academia offer the potential to greatly impact human health," said Moncef Slaoui, IAVI Board Member and Chairman, Vaccines, GSK.

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About the Human Vaccines Project

The Human Vaccines Project is a nonprofit public-private partnership with the mission to accelerate the development of vaccines and immunotherapies against major infectious diseases and cancers by decoding the human immune system. The Project brings together leading academic research centers, industrial partners, nonprofits and governments to address the primary scientific barriers to developing new vaccines and immunotherapies. The Project, incubated at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, GSK and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It has been endorsed by 35 of the world's leading vaccine scientists as potentially "transformative" for public health.

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, IAVI works with partners in 25 countries to research, design and develop AIDS vaccine candidates. The organization also conducts policy analysis and serves as an advocate for the AIDS vaccine field. It supports a comprehensive approach to addressing HIV and AIDS that balances the expansion and strengthening of existing HIV prevention and treatment programs with targeted investments in the design and development of new tools to prevent HIV. IAVI is dedicated to ensuring that a future AIDS vaccine will be available and accessible to all who need it. IAVI's work is made possible by generous support from many donors including: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark; Irish Aid; the Ministry of Finance of Japan in partnership with The World Bank; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands; the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD); the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The full list of IAVI donors is available at http://www.iavi.org.

About Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is home to Vanderbilt University Hospital, The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and the Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital. Both the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and School of Nursing are recognized by U.S. News & World Report's annual Best Graduate Schools as among the nation's best with the School of Medicine ranked 14th and the School of Nursing 11th. The School of Medicine's biomedical research program has earned its place among the nation's top 10 academic medical centers in terms of public and private research funding, receiving more than $500 million in total funding during fiscal year 2015. Vanderbilt University Hospital and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt are recognized again this year by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals as among the nation's best with a combined 18 nationally ranked specialties.

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