Pfizer said today it will join the Human Vaccines Project, a public–private consortium focused on speeding up development of vaccines and immunotherapies against major infectious diseases and cancers by decoding the human immune system.

Infectious diseases the Project is targeting include influenza, dengue, and HIV.

“The translation from preclinical to clinical vaccine research has often been hampered by a lack of understanding of the desired human immune responses required to obtain optimal vaccine protection,” Kathrin U. Jansen, Ph.D., svp and head of Vaccines Research & Development at Pfizer, said in a statement.”

Pfizer joins Crucell/Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), MedImmune, Regeneron, Sanofi Pasteur, and nonprofit vaccine developer Aeras as partners in the Project—along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Project is designed to bring together leading academic research centers, industrial partners, nonprofits, and governments to address the primary scientific barriers to developing new vaccines and immunotherapies.

Through cross-sector collaboration, the Project says, it can glean insights on effective immunity and how to generate such responses through vaccines and immunotherapies in key global populations. The Project consortium hopes to identify the fundamentals of immunological protection, with the goal of developing new and improved vaccines, immunotherapies, and diagnostics.

“By bringing together leading vaccine researchers, institutions, and biopharmaceutical companies, and harnessing recent technological advances in molecular and cellular biology and bioinformatics, the Project may potentially enable accelerated development of vaccines and immunotherapies for some of the most devastating diseases of our time,” added Wayne C. Koff, Ph.D., founder of the Human Vaccines Project.

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