A newly formed group called The Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium obtained funding from Wellcome Trust and Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation.

The University of Oxford and Emergent BioSolutions formed The Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium to further develop MVA85A, a tuberculosis vaccine candidate. The consortium secured about £8 million, or almost $16 million, from The Wellcome Trust and the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation to fund this work.

The University of Oxford exclusively licensed the MVA85A tuberculosis vaccine candidate and related technology to the consortium. As part of the deal, Emergent BioSolutions has rights to commercialize the vaccine. The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation will have distribution rights in the developing world to ensure availability and access.

The consortium will work with the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation to evaluate the efficacy of MVA85A in infants in a Phase IIb trial anticipated to begin in 2009. The vaccine candidate is designed to work in tandem with the Bacille Calmette Guerin vaccine (BCG), which is currently the only available vaccine against tuberculosis.

BCG is administered to infants throughout the developing world and in certain countries in the developed world. BCG, however, provides only variable protection against pulmonary tuberculosis and is not effective in adults.

The MVA85A vaccine candidate is intended to augment the response of T cells already primed by the BCG vaccine. Clinical trials to date have demonstrated consistently high cellular immune responses in those who received the MVA85A vaccine candidate following vaccination with BCG, according to the consortium.

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