Read how NIAID scientists are progressing toward a faster, more practical way to screen people and animals for prion diseases.
The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) recently recognized NIAID with a Mid-Atlantic Regional Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer for novel therapeutics to treat malaria. The therapeutics were developed out of an NIAID discovery about how the malaria parasite nourishes itself.
Led by Sanjay Desai, M.D., Ph.D., the Apicomplexan Molecular Physiology Section in the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, NIAID Division of Intramural Research, discovered the the malaria parasite’s plasmodial surface anion channel (PSAC). The parasite uses PSAC to take in nutrients from infected blood cells and so is an important target for anti-malaria drugs.
The therapeutics were developed through several collaborations, including a conditional gift from the Medicines for Malaria Venture, as well as a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) and small business innovation research (SBIR) grant with biopharmaceutical company Microbiotix. Congratulations to Sanjay, his team, and the Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office for this recognition.
The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) recently recognized NIAID with two national Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer, for a novel therapeutic for tuberculosis, called SQ109, and for a sound attenuation canopy that reduces office noise. SQ109 arose from research in the Tuberculosis Research Section, headed by Clifton E. Barry III, Ph.D., of the Division of Intramural Research’s Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases. SQ109 is currently licensed to Sequella Inc. and is in Phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.
The sound attenuation canopy was developed by staff in the Office of Research Operations (NIAID Office of Science Management and Operations), headed by Judy Quasney. This product diminishes sound travel through office ceilings while still allowing air flow. Over 500 devices, in experimental form, were installed in Building 6610 on all floors. Data collected from these devices was used to help refine the product, which will be used in NIAID’s new Fishers Lane building. The sound attenuation canopy previously won the Mid-Atlantic FLC Excellence in Technology Transfer Award.
The NIAID Office of Transfer and Intellectual Property Office worked with the inventors to protect the inventions, identify potential development and commercialization partners, and create license agreements for these important inventions.
Diagnostic Test Is Based on Technology From NIAID Lab
In 2004, diagnostics manufacturer R-Biopharm licensed recombinant baculoviruses developed in the NIAID Laboratory of Infectious Diseases and used the virus-derived virus-like particles (VLPs) to create monoclonal antibodies against norovirus. In R-Biopharm’s Ridascreen test, these antibodies serve to capture norovirus antigen from a stool sample. If the antigen is present, the antibodies bind to it so it can be detected in later steps of the test. FDA approved the Ridascreen Norovirus test for diagnosing norovirus infection in situations where a number of people have simultaneously contracted gastroenteritis and there is a clear potential avenue for virus transmission such as a shared location or food. This is the first norovirus diagnostic approved by the FDA.
Read more about Ridascreen and NIAID’s role in NIAID-Developed Technology Key in First FDA-Approved Norovirus Test. The story was also featured in the 2012 Technology for Today (PDF), a publication from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC), on page 24.
On May 7, 2009, NIAID received an Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) for the highly effective transfer of a “Mast Cell Line for Research on Allergies and Inflammatory Diseases.” Developed by Arnold Kirshenbaum, M.D.; Cem Akin, M.D., Ph.D.; and Dean Metcalfe, M.D., the line represents a potent tool for understanding the normal functions of human mast cells and identifying the mechanisms of a variety of diseases. Research using this cell line holds great promise in the development of novel therapies to combat allergic diseases.
Read more on the front page of the June 2009 issue of FLC NewsLink (PDF).
Regional Licensing Benefits At-Risk Populations
Dengue fever is a global threat. It is now endemic in more than 100 countries in Africa, North and South America, the eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and the western Pacific. Some 2.5 billion people, two-fifths of the world’s population, are now at risk of infection. The research required to bring a vaccine to market for dengue is long and expensive, but commercial development of such a vaccine is critical.
The NIH Office of Technology Transfer recently executed two license agreements with institutions in Brazil and Vietnam to develop a vaccine technology that originated in NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases with Stephen Whitehead, Ph.D., and Brian R. Murphy, M.D. These licenses used a regional approach in which institutions in endemic areas are given a nonexclusive license or exclusive rights in their country or region. Such creative licensing structures transfer technologies to institutions that will make and distribute the vaccine locally, with only local regulatory hurdles. Furthermore, nonexclusive licenses and exclusive licenses within only one country or region allow more than one company to compete in making the vaccine, increasing the chances of success and lowering costs to consumers.
Read more about NIAID vaccine technology at NIAID Scientists Use Reverse Genetics to Develop Potential Dengue Vaccine.
NIAID, Merial Use Poxvirus Technology To Halt the Spread of Disease in the Wild
Merial has developed an innovative oral rabies vaccine targeting wildlife. The vaccine uses the poxvirus as a vector—a technology developed in NIAID’s labs. Approximately 12 million doses of Raboral V-RG© are distributed in the wild each year. Read more on page 6 of the December 2008 issue of FLC NewsLink (PDF).
GlaxoSmithKline/NIAID Partnership Advances Hepatitis A Vaccine
The hepatitis A virus, an enterically transmitted pathogen that has infected an estimated 5 billion of the world’s population, is the single most important cause of acute clinical hepatitis in the United States. GlaxoSmithKline (formerly SmithKline Beecham) initiated a CRADA in 1986 with NIAID's Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, Hepatitis Viruses Section, to develop an inactivated vaccine for the hepatitis A virus. As a result, GlaxoSmithKline licensed the vaccine technology in Europe in 1991 and in the United States in 1995, marketing a vaccine under the brand name Havrix. In addition, the parties have collaborated under CRADAs to develop vaccines against hepatitis C and E viruses.
Licensed NIAID Antibody Forms Basis of Treatment
MedImmune, Inc., markets this humanized monoclonal antibody for the prevention of serious lower respiratory tract disease caused by respiratory syncytial virus in high-risk infants and children. This successful product is based on a murine monoclonal antibody invented by NIAID and MedImmune scientists. MedImmune acquired commercialization rights through a license with NIH.
NIAID Key Player in Partnership To Prevent Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumonia is the major cause of death in Gambian children, with S. pneumoniae as the leading bacterial cause. In 2000, NIAID negotiated a CRADA with Wyeth to supply an investigational pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for a clinical trial that was jointly funded by NIAID and several international health organizations. The trial recruited approximately 17,000 Gambian children shortly after birth and monitored them for 30 months to measure the ability of the vaccine to prevent x-ray-confirmed pneumonia and other forms of serious pneumococcal disease. Results show that the vaccine substantially reduces the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia in young children. The vaccine group had 16 percent fewer deaths from any cause, indicating the potential value of the vaccine in overall child survival in developing countries.
NIAID and GSK Team Up To Thwart Endemic Virus
The Pakistani strain of hepatitis E virus has the potential to be developed into a hepatitis vaccine for people in areas where hepatitis E is endemic (Southeast and Central Asia and parts of Africa). An experimental vaccine, resulting from a CRADA between GlaxoSmithKline and NIAID, was highly efficacious in preclinical evaluations, and a recently completed field trial of the vaccine in Nepal confirmed that it protects against hepatitis E in at-risk populations.
NIAID and Chiron Test Strategy To Prevent or Delay AIDS Onset
Beginning in 1999, two large, multi-site, international Phase III studies were independently designed and developed to address the question of whether IL-2 therapy confers long-term clinical benefit to people with HIV infection. The first study evaluates the safety and clinical efficacy of intermittent cycles of recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2; Proleukin®) in combination with standard antiretroviral therapy, compared with standard antiretroviral therapy alone, in almost 2,000 patients with advanced HIV infection. The second study, conducted in part under a CRADA with the Chiron Corporation, evaluates a similar rIL-2 treatment strategy in over 4,000 patients with earlier HIV disease. Over the next several years, each study is expected to provide an independent answer to the question of whether intermittent IL-2 therapy can help prevent or delay the onset of AIDS to a greater degree than is currently possible with the combinations of conventional antiretroviral medications available.
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Last Updated September 30, 2013