Government Leaders Inaugurate New Tuberculosis Vaccine Manufacturing Facility

Government Leaders Inaugurate New Tuberculosis Vaccine Manufacturing Facility

Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation Opens its BSL-2 Vaccine Manufacturing Plant, Applying 21st Century Solutions to a Centuries Old Disease-on-the-rise

Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Rockville Mayor, Susan R. Hoffmann, inaugurated a state-of-the-art tuberculosis vaccine manufacturing facility capable of producing 200 million doses of a new TB vaccine at the headquarters of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation today. Aeras is a non-profit research organization – funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the government of the Netherlands and others – that is developing new TB vaccines to help stop the global TB epidemic.

"I am proud that such an important scientific and humanitarian mission is being undertaken here in Montgomery County, which is home to world-class biomedical innovation. Aeras’ work to develop effective, affordable tuberculosis vaccine regimens will help fight and ultimately conquer this disease worldwide,” said Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

TB is becoming increasingly severe and complex due to the development of drug resistant forms of TB and the deadly relationship between TB and HIV. Today, TB kills 1.8 million people annually, and there are more than 9 million new cases of TB disease every year. There is an urgent need for new tools to combat the TB epidemic. Aeras, a global leader in the quest for a new TB vaccine, is pioneering aerosol delivery of TB vaccines directly into the lung where the disease primarily strikes, as well as other innovations in TB vaccine technology.

“TB is a terrible disease. Health experts say it will take 1,000 years to stop it using currently available methods of treatment and prevention,” said Jerald C. Sadoff, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation. “TB will not be eliminated without a new vaccine. With the new facility, Aeras can pursue aerosol formulations and manufacture vaccines faster to prevent delay in getting them to the men, women and children around the world that need them.”

The new manufacturing facility, a multi-million dollar investment that will lead to new high-tech jobs in Montgomery County during the economic downturn, will bring efficiencies and cost savings to the TB vaccine development and manufacturing process. Ultimately, the new facility will enable Aeras to keep the cost of future TB vaccines affordable to those who need them most in countries hardest hit by TB.

“We are proud that Montgomery County is home to the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation,” said Isiah Leggett, County Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland. “Aeras’ growth in the past six years has been tremendous. In a time of economic downturn, we are pleased that this project provided employment to over 130 people involved in the design and construction of the new manufacturing facility that we are here to inaugurate today. The innovation taking place in this state-of-the-art facility will be vital to accomplishing Aeras’ humanitarian mission: eliminating tuberculosis worldwide.”

Aeras has assembled the broadest TB vaccine product pipeline in the world. Four vaccine candidates in Aeras’ pipeline are currently undergoing testing in clinical trials, including one candidate that advanced to the proof-of-concept stage last month in South Africa.

The new TB vaccine manufacturing facility is a BioSafety Level-2 facility, built to handle infectious agents that can cause disease in humans but whose potential for transmission is limited. It has the capacity to fill 5,000 vials of vaccine per run and produce up to 200 million bulk doses of a new TB vaccine, which is enough to meet the worldwide need.