Vir Biotechnology awarded $10M grant by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop HIV vaccine

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

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© Getty Images

Related tags Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Gates Foundation HIV vaccine Hiv infection

Vir Biotechnology has been awarded a new $10 million grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support its novel T cell vaccine development program for the prevention of HIV.

The grant will aid the phase 1 clinical development of VIR-1388, an investigational HIV T cell vaccine.

VIR-1388 is based on the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) vector platform.

Using applied learnings from VIR-1111, Vir’s initial investigational proof-of-concept HIV T cell vaccine, VIR-1388 is designed to elicit T cells that recognize different HIV epitopes with the goal of creating a ‘safe and effective’ HIV vaccine.

Working in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), the phase 1 trial of VIR-1388 is expected to begin in the second half of 2023.

The trial will also be funded in part by NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health, through grant funding to HVTN. NIAID has provided funding throughout the product development lifecycle of VIR-1388.

Building on a long-standing partnership

The new grant expands on an existing partnership​ between Vir and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Back in January, the Gates foundation invested in Vir to develop broadly neutralizing antibodies designed to provide a ‘vaccinal effect’ for the treatment of HIV and prevention of Malaria.

Collectively, these programs aim to address infectious diseases that significantly impact people in low and middle income countries, with VIR-1111 the most advanced program in the collaboration.

“Vir’s long-standing support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been a formative part of our company history in global health," said Rajesh Gupta, vice president global health portfolio and public-private partnerships at Vir Biotechnology.

“This new grant underscores the importance of our goal of developing innovative solutions for the prevention and treatment of global infectious diseases, including HIV. We look forward to advancing VIR-1388 into the clinic later this year," he added. 

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