The Human Vaccines Project and Boehringer Ingelheim Partner To Accelerate the Development of Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapies

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Three-Year Collaboration to Overcome Key Hurdles of Human Immunology

The Human Vaccines Project and Boehringer Ingelheim are pleased to announce a three-year collaboration agreement to support their mutual objective to decode the human immune system with the aim of accelerating understanding and development of immunotherapies overall as well as better vaccines for cancer treatment. Under the terms of the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim’s contributions to the Project will help catalyze the Project’s expanding programs.

“We are tremendously honored that Boehringer Ingelheim has elected to partner with the Project, joining a growing number of leading, global biopharmaceutical companies committed to addressing the key scientific challenges impeding development of next generation vaccines and immunotherapies,” said Wayne C. Koff, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Human Vaccines Project. “Boehringer Ingelheim brings exceptional basic science and clinical research expertise in the areas of oncology and human immunology, and is at the forefront of biopharma innovation in these areas.”

A revolution is ongoing in cancer immunotherapy, due to the recent realization of the importance of “checkpoints,” proteins that enable tumors to evade the immune system’s ability to kill the tumor, and novel therapeutics termed “checkpoint inhibitors” that have provided dramatic clinical benefit in managing a subset of cancers in a limited number of patients.

“Despite these exciting breakthroughs, our understanding of how the immune system can best be harnessed to attack and eliminate tumors remains limited. A better understanding of the human immune system in healthy individuals as well as patients, and how best to measure and direct the immune system is needed,” said Clive R. Wood, Ph.D., Senior Corporate Vice President, Discovery Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. “We are pleased to become a partner in this groundbreaking project which offers the potential to open a new era in vaccine and immunotherapeutic development. This complements our strong commitment to cancer immunology with a pipeline that includes among others, a therapeutic cancer vaccine and next generation checkpoint inhibitors.”

Within the Human Vaccines Project’s scientific network, investigators at leading academic research centers are seeking to determine the central components of the human immune system at the molecular and structural level, as well as the common rules by which the immune system generates specific and durable protective responses against a range of infectious and neoplastic diseases. Successful achievement of these goals should enable accelerated development of new and improved vaccines and therapeutics for major global diseases.

“The Human Vaccines Project is one of the more promising projects to help transform the future of vaccine development and cancer immunotherapy. JCVI is pleased to be adding our bioinformatics acumen as part of this effort to help conquer some of the most devastating diseases of the 21st century,” said J. Craig Venter, Founder, Chairman and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute which recently joined together with the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla Institute and UC San Diego to serve as a scientific hub for the Project.

About the Human Vaccines Project
The Human Vaccines Project is a non-profit public-private partnership with the mission to accelerate the development of vaccines and immunotherapies against major infectious diseases and cancers by decoding the human immune system. The Project has a growing list of partners and financial supporters including: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the J. Craig Venter Institute, the La Jolla Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, UC San Diego, Aeras, Crucell/Janssen, GSK, Pfizer, MedImmune, Regeneron, Sanofi Pasteur, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Project brings together leading academic research centers, industrial partners, nonprofits and governments to address the primary scientific barriers to developing new vaccines and immunotherapies, and has been endorsed by 35 of the world’s leading vaccine scientists.

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Ted Schenkelberg
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