Biofabri and TBVI join forces in TB vaccine development


Spain/The Netherlands, 29 February 2012 – Biopharmaceutical company Biofabri (Porrino, Spain) has decided to financially support the TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI), a European foundation based in the Netherlands. The two organisations have signed a sponsorship agreement with the aim to strengthen TBVI’s activities in the search for new vaccines that are able to protect future generations against tuberculosis. Besides financial support, Biofabri will provide TBVI with strategic advice by taking a seat in the Council of Trustees.

Tuberculosis takes almost 1.5 million lives per year, one every 22 seconds. Apart from  great human suffering, the disease causes a huge financial burden and significant, worldwide economic damage: hundreds of billions of euro’s per year. These costs are likely to increase, new drug resistant strains of the bacterium are spreading rapidly around the globe. Immunisation is one of the few instruments to halt and reverse this global health threat.

“Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective health interventions,” says Jelle Thole, director of TBVI. “Yet the only currently available vaccine against tuberculosis, Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), provides very limited protection against pulmonary TB, the most prevalent and contagious form of the disease. Without new, more effective vaccines, TB cannot be eliminated. Therefore we work hard on the development of new vaccines, tying together a network of over 50, mainly European research partners.”

Biofabri is already involved in the development of the Spanish vaccine candidate MTBVAC. This candidate was developed by the University of Zaragoza and recently also drew the attention of Bill Gates and his team. A phase I trial of this vaccine candidate is planned this year. Eventually this vaccine is aiming to replace the current BCG vaccine. “As biopharmaceutical company we are involved in new vaccines against different diseases but the most important is MTBVAC, against tuberculosis” says Esteban Rodríguez, CEO of Biofabri. “We experienced TBVI as a very reliable organisation, with valuable experience in the early development of new TB vaccines. Especially their knowledge of how to develop vaccine candidates from basic research to clinical trials, is unique. We appreciate their innovative approach in combining knowledge of all their 50 research partners. Because new vaccines are so urgently needed, and because their experience adds value to our activities, we decided to sponsor TBVI.”

TBVI’s director Jelle Thole is glad about the support of Biofabri. “We can genuinely benefit from their extensive experience in manufacturing, and of course the financial support is very important to strengthen our organisation. This surely boosts the development of all our 40 vaccine candidates.”

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