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Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology Receives Gates Foundation Grant for Avian Influenza Vaccine Development
Date:1/30/2009

NEWARK, Del., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Center for Molecular Biology (CMB) has received an $8.7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support continued development of an avian influenza vaccine that uses transient plant-based technology. CMB will develop vaccines against highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of H5N1 subtype, and work to advance promising candidates into clinical trials.

Dr. Vidadi Yusibov, CMB's Executive Director said, "CMB's vaccine technology has the potential to revolutionize how vaccines are manufactured, allowing for a more rapid and affordable response to pandemic flu threats."

"It is essential that new vaccines reach the people who need them most," said Doug Holtzman, Senior Program Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "If successful, this project could help developing countries respond quickly to outbreaks of influenza and other infectious diseases to significantly limit their impact on vulnerable populations."

CMB's platform provides a new alternative to traditional vaccine production, with improved speed, surge capacity, and cost efficiency. The technology has also earned support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to continue developing the technology and establish it as a platform for accelerated manufacturing pharmaceuticals. The transient plant- based expression technology is licensed by CMB from its partner, iBioPharma, Inc.

About Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology

Fraunhofer CMB's mission is to develop safe and effective vaccines targeting infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders. CMB's technology provides a safe, rapid and economical alternative for vaccine production. The Center conducts research in the area of plant biotechnology, utilizing new, cutting edge technologies to assist the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human and animal diseases. The Center houses individuals with expertise and excellence in plant virology, pathology, molecular biology, immunology, vaccinology, protein engineering, and biochemistry. Further information is available at www.fraunhofer-cmb.org

Fraunhofer CMB is one of six Fraunhofer USA research centers. Fraunhofer USA, Inc. is a non-profit research and development corporation, with headquarters in Michigan. It operates through technology centers that are partnered with major research universities in the United States and also with parent research institutes in Germany. Fraunhofer USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft which promotes and undertakes applied research in an international context, of direct utility to private and public enterprise and of wide benefit to society as a whole.

    Contact:
    Dr. Vidadi Yusibov, Executive Director
    Fraunhofer CMB
    (302) 369-3034

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SOURCE Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology
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