Scientists Launch Vaccine Research Foundation

By The Foundation For Vaccine Research, PRNE
Tuesday, June 7, 2011

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2011 -

- New Foundation will advocate and campaign for increased funding for
global vaccine research against infectious diseases, including neglected
tropical diseases

Fourteen leading scientists and advocacy experts in vaccines and
infectious diseases have announced the formation of a new international
Foundation to advance and accelerate vaccine research and development against
infectious diseases. The Foundation for Vaccine Research will be
headquartered in Washington, DC. The Foundation's mission is to raise global
awareness of the need for increased, long-term, flexible funding for vaccine
research against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious
diseases, including neglected tropical diseases, as well as universal
vaccines for influenza and a vaccine to avert pandemic influenza. The
Foundation's activities will focus on persuading opinion leaders,
policymakers inside and outside government, and other decision makers of the
benefits and safety of vaccines and the merits of increased investment in
vaccine research. The Foundation will seek to mobilize resources
internationally and on a large scale to finance vaccine research globally,
with a special focus on securing new assets and the development of innovative
financing mechanisms. The Foundation will also conduct televised fundraising
events and benefit concerts, with 100 percent of publicly donated funds going
directly to teams of scientists and their institutions. The Foundation will
also engage with the anti-vaccine movement to persuade them of the benefits
of vaccines.

The leadership of the new Foundation is comprised of:

    - Galit Alter, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Ragon
      Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of
      Technology, and Harvard University; Director, Ragon Institute Imaging
      Core; Director, Harvard Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Immunology
      Core, Boston, USA
    - Patrice Debre, MD, PhD, Professor of Immunology, University of
      Pierre and Marie Curie, Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, Paris, France
    - Jose M. Gatell MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Senior Consultant
      & Head, Infectious Diseases & AIDS Units, Clinical Institute of
      Medicine & Dermatology, Founder and Co-Director of the Catalan HIV
      Vaccine Project (HIVACAT), Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, University of
      Barcelona, Spain
    - Peter Hale, Founder, The It's Time Campaign, Washington, DC, USA
    - Sylvie Le Gall, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Ragon
      Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of
      Technology, and Harvard University; Director, Ragon Institute Education
      and Training Platform, Boston, USA
    - Ronald C. Desrosiers, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and
      Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School; Director, New England
      Primate Research Center, Boston, USA
    - Willem Hanekom, Professor of Immunology; Co-Director, South
      African TB Vaccine Initiative (SATVI), Institute of Infectious Disease
      and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa
    - Professor Gregory Hussey, Deputy Dean: Research, Faculty of
      Health Sciences; Founder and Director, Vaccines for Africa, University
      of Cape Town, South Africa
    - Paul A. Offit, MD, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases,
      Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, Children's Hospital of
      Philadelphia, Philadelphia, USA
    - Gregory A. Poland, MD, MACP, FIDSA, Mary Lowell Leary Professor
      of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Molecular Pharmacology and
      Experimental Therapeutics; Director, Mayo Vaccine Research Group;
      Director, Translational Immunovirology and Biodefense; Editor-in-Chief,
      VACCINE; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA
    - Mauro Schechter, MD, PhD, Professor of Infectious Diseases, Head,
      Projeto Praca Onze, Hospital Escola Sao Francisco de Assis, Federal
      University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    - Guillaume Stewart-Jones, PhD, Principal Investigator, Weatherall
      Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe
      Hospital, Oxford, UK
    - Professor Simon Wain-Hobson, PhD, Chief, Molecular Retrovirology,
      Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
    - Robin A. Weiss, PhD, Professor of Viral Oncology, Division of
      Infection and Immunity, University College London, UK

The Foundation will work with a constellation of partner institutions and
other stakeholders around the globe. The Foundation will incorporate the
"It's Time Campaign," an advocacy and campaign organization based in
Washington, which will become a program of the new Foundation and its main
fundraising arm. The Foundation will share offices initially with the
Campaign at their headquarters at 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The Campaign
will retain its focus of campaigning for an HIV, TB, and malaria vaccine. The
Foundation will advocate for increased funding for vaccine research against
all infectious diseases in the belief that all vaccine research is
underfunded and that breakthroughs could come from any field.

The Foundation will also finance vaccine research directly. Funding
sources will include the It's Time Campaign's internet-based campaign,
televised fundraising events, benefit concerts, and other initiatives
undertaken by the Foundation. In the case of major televised events, 100
percent of publicly donated funds will go to research, none to overhead
costs, with the proceeds distributed worldwide to scientists and their
institutions wherever the funds will have the greatest impact in terms of
accelerating vaccine research.

Prevention is better than cure

Of the billions of dollars spent every year fighting infectious diseases
around the world, less than 2 percent is invested in vaccine research. The
Foundation believes that this is shortsighted and that we must reset our
priorities. "The science and the technology are there to develop life-saving
vaccines for the most challenging infectious diseases," said Founding Board
Director Dr. Paul Offit of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and
co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine. "However, the resources are not - and,
when they are, they tend to come in bursts. Scientists everywhere need
long-term, predictable funding in order to pursue new ideas and promising
lines of research without worrying about paying next month's rent."

The Foundation fills a strategic gap at a time when resources are scarce
and treatment costs are soaring. "No one has been advocating, lobbying or
campaigning single-mindedly or consistently on the world stage for increased
funding for vaccine research," said Peter Hale, founder of the It's Time
Campaign. "It's time to fill this gap. While finding innovative new ways to
persuade governments and other funders of the value of increased investments
in vaccine research, we can help raise money for vaccine research by
conducting televised fundraising events, just as other groups are doing to
accelerate cancer and diabetes research."

"It's an exciting time to advance vaccine research and development to
prevent humankind's most wretched diseases," said Founding Board Director
Prof. Robin Weiss of University College London. "However, scientists must
have the resources. We need leadership and further political commitment
worldwide. I am pleased that finally someone will be advocating and
campaigning for increased funding for vaccine research."

"Vaccines are most needed for infectious diseases that are ravaging
developing countries, where financial incentives for vaccine companies
practically do not exist," said Founding Board Director Prof. Mauro Schechter
of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. "I hope that the creation of the
Foundation will galvanize efforts to create innovative financing mechanisms
and other incentives that will expedite vaccine research and development,
particularly for HIV, TB, and malaria, in developing and developed

"The personal and communal impact of colliding HIV and TB epidemics in
South Africa is devastating," said Founding Board Director, Prof. Willem
of the South African TB Vaccine Initiative at the University of Cape
. "We also have an emerging problem of extensively drug-resistant TB. We
urgently need to prevent these diseases through effective vaccination.
Vaccine development is hampered by inadequate resources; which, in turn,
results from suboptimal advocacy efforts. The Foundation has a critical role
in reversing this situation."

"The search for an HIV-1 vaccine is the holy grail. Breakthroughs will
come, but not from tweaking a variable this way or that," said Founding Board
Director Prof. Simon Wain-Hobson of the Institut Pasteur. "We need new ideas
- which take time to come - and fresher minds. We must nurture our post-docs
and ensure that they have the resources they need. Good ideas could come from
any quarter, even from outside the field."

"Now is the time when revolutionary, unconventional ideas driven by young
investigators may lead to game-changing discoveries that may provide the key
elements required for vaccine design against HIV and other intractable
diseases," said Founding Board Director Dr. Galit Alter, an early-career
investigator at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. "We have renewed
energy and momentum following some encouraging recent clinical trial results
but we must have the resources to build on these advances."

"Vaccines have saved millions of human lives, more than any other medical
intervention," said Founding Board Director Prof. Gregory Poland of the Mayo
Clinic and Editor-in-Chief of the journal, VACCINE. "With a sustained 2- to
3-fold increase in funding for vaccine research, I believe that we can
eliminate infectious diseases as the primary cause of morbidity and mortality
from the planet within our children's lifetime."

Notes for Editors

About the Foundation

The Foundation for Vaccine Research was incorporated in the District of
on June 1, 2011, after complying with all applicable provisions of
the District of Columbia's NonProfit Corporation Act. The Foundation is
currently organizing its leadership to prepare for its formal launch and
public debut this fall. During the summer months, the Foundation will also be
filing for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.
Further details of the Foundation's leadership and its inaugural event will
be announced shortly.

The Foundation's Logo

Vaccines are "miracles" that have saved millions of human lives and will
continue to save millions more in the future. For this reason, the
Foundation's logo features a large "V" center stage to symbolize the miracles
worked by vaccines. The logotype was designed by award-winning typographer
and designer Paul Soady in Los Angeles. "Sometimes when designing a logotype
magic happens, usually it happens only ONCE in the design process," said Paul
. "In the case of 'The FOUNDATION for VACCINE RESEARCH' logotype, the
magic happened 5 times! The "V" happens to be the key letter in the key word,
"Vaccines." The "V" sits right in the middle of the line. "V" is considered
the strongest letter in the Roman alphabet. "V" stands for Victory, thanks to
Winston Churchill. "V" is the newest letter in the alphabet, the Romans used
U instead." Our thanks to Paul Soady and to fellow Australian designer Chris
at Shout Studio in L.A. Paul's logotype design can be viewed on the
Foundation's website at:

About the It's Time Campaign

The It's Time Campaign is an advocacy and campaign organization in
Washington, DC, that started as an all-volunteer group of vaccine advocates
on Capitol Hill. After hosting and organizing a special Joint Congressional
briefing on Capitol Hill on the 30th anniversary of the eradication of
smallpox on May 17, 2010, the first briefing of its kind bringing together
top scientists engaged in the fields of HIV, TB, and malaria vaccine
research, the group was encouraged by its co-sponsors to incorporate as a
foundation to take the Campaign further. The event was co-sponsored by Aeras
Global TB Vaccine Foundation, Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, HIV Vaccine
Trials Network (HVTN), International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), Jenner
Society, Mayo Clinic, PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, U.S. Military HIV and
Malaria Vaccine Programs, and Nature. In addition to Washington, the Campaign
plans to open offices in Brussels.

For the Foundation for Vaccine Research: Peter Hale, The Foundation for Vaccine Research, +1-202-220-3008 (office), +1-202-215-6071 (cell), peter.hale at, Prof. Gregory Poland, Mayo Clinic, +1-507-284-4968, poland.gregory at; Europe: Prof. Robin Weiss, University College London, +44-203-108-2137 (lab), +44-7806-847-394 (mobile/cell), r.weiss at; Brazil: Prof. Mauro Schechter, Hospital Escola Sao Francisco de Assis, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, + 55-21-9987-7524, mauro.schechter at; South Africa: Prof. Willem Hanekom, South African TB Vaccine Initiative, University of Cape Town, +27-21-406-6971, willem.hanekom at

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