The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise was conceived in 2003 to bring new focus, cooperation, and expanded resources to HIV vaccine research. Since its inception, the Enterprise has formed an alliance of independent organizations that includes many of the leading AIDS vaccine research institutions in the world. Together, this group has developed and begun to implement a shared Scientific Strategic Plan, helped mobilize significant new resources, promoted collaborative work among researchers, and sponsored dialogues on major scientific challenges.
The Enterprise concept was first proposed in a June 2003 article in Science signed by 24 leaders in HIV vaccine research. They called for a revitalized, more collaborative research effort that would increase the scale and accelerate the pace of research, establish common standards for comparing products, expand manufacturing capability, and improve the capacity of clinical trials sites. The Enterprise proposal was further developed at a meeting of leading scientists, public health experts and policy makers in August 2003. In 2004, at their annual Summit, the Group of 8 nations endorsed the Enterprise concept and pledged their support. The Enterprise is now engaged in a broad range of activities, but science is its core business. The initial stakeholders in the Enterprise began work on their Scientific Strategic Plan (SSP) in 2004, convening six expert working groups and conducting a comprehensive review of the state of HIV vaccine research. The SSP was published in PLoS Medicine in February 2005.
Enterprise partners are now aligning many of their activities and launching new projects to address the six priority areas identified in the SSP: vaccine discovery, laboratory standardization, product development and manufacturing, clinical trials capacity, regulatory capacity, and intellectual property issues. The first major contribution of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to this initial phase of the Enterprise was the creation of a new initiative called the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD).
The CAVD was launched in July 2006 and is being developed as a highly collaborative network of 17 research consortia, comprised of almost 200 investigators in over 90 institutions in 22 different countries. Twelve of the consortia are working on different approaches to developing HIV vaccines, six of which focus on vaccine concepts designed to induce cell-mediated immunity, and the other six on vaccine concepts designed to induce protective antibody responses. These 12 Vaccine Discovery Consortia (VDC) are supported by five Central Service Facilities (CSFs), which conduct standardized immunological evaluations and data and statistical analysis for the whole network, allowing for real-time comparison of the results. The CAVD projects are not intended to focus on basic discovery research. Instead, they target a perceived strategic gap in the HIV vaccine research and development continuum, which is the translational or "maturation" phase. This phase is aimed at harnessing the vast amount of knowledge derived from basic research to produce the "proof-of-concept" experiments required to proceed with confidence to the product development phase. To ensure that the whole effort is bigger than the sum of its parts, the 16 CAVD consortia and centers are bound together by a robust communication and alliance management strategy, and by legal agreements to share materials and data among the different CAVD laboratories and, in time, with the rest of the Enterprise alliance and the scientific community at-large. Now at the end of their first year of funding, the CAVD teams have made considerable progress, and a brief description of the main project objectives will be provided in the presentation.
This abstract was published in Cancer Immunity, a Cancer Research Institute journal that ceased publication in 2013 and is now provided online in association with Cancer Immunology Research.
- Copyright © 2008 by Nina D. Russell