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Fraunhofer CMB Receives Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant To Develop Innovative Malaria Vaccines


12/18/2006 10:35:39 AM

PLYMOUTH, Mich., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology ("Fraunhofer CMB") announced today the receipt of a $3.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the development of transmission-blocking vaccines against malaria. To achieve the goals of this project, Fraunhofer CMB will employ its proprietary platform technology to produce lifesaving vaccines in non-genetically modified plants.

Despite a century of efforts, malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world, causing more than 300 million acute cases and at least one million deaths annually. Malaria is the leading cause of death in young children in Africa, killing one child every 30 seconds.

Vaccines could provide an effective means for the control and prevention of malaria. Previous research has shown that some human antibodies can reduce the transmission of malaria parasites from humans to mosquitoes. The project announced today will develop vaccine candidates designed to elicit these antibodies, thus preventing further spread of disease in endemic communities.

"This support from the Gates Foundation will significantly expedite the development of these novel vaccines. This will be an international effort between several institutions, wherein each group will contribute their expertise and know-how," said Dr. Vidadi Yusibov, Executive Director of CMB. "Fraunhofer CMB will work closely with the Malaria Vaccine Development Branch of NIAID of the National Institutes of Health, USA, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, Imperial College London's Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, UK, and The Cell-Free Science and Technology Research Center, Ehime University in Japan to ensure success."

This is the third grant that Fraunhofer CMB has received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support development of vaccines using its plant- based platform. A $2.7 million award for development of novel subunit vaccines against influenza was announced last week. Fraunhofer CMB was also the recipient of a $1.2 million Gates Foundation grant in 2005 for pre-clinical studies towards the development of a vaccine against African trypanosomiasis.

About Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB). Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology was established in July 2001 as a partnership between the Fraunhofer Society in Germany and the State of Delaware. CMB is part of Fraunhofer USA, Inc., a non-profit organization that has five research Centers in the United States. CMB is located at the Delaware Technology Park in Newark, Delaware and is a unique institution conducting research in the area of plant biotechnology, developing cutting edge technologies to assist the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human and animal diseases.

Contact: Frances Roland-Lee at froland@fraunhofer.org, 734/354-4333 or Dr. Vidadi Yusibov at vyusibov@fraunhofer-cmb.org

Fraunhofer USA

CONTACT: Frances Roland-Lee, +1-734-354-4333, froland@fraunhofer.org, orDr. Vidadi Yusibov, vyusibov@fraunhofer-cmb.org, both of Fraunhofer USA



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Malaria

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