Therion Biologics Corp. was awarded a $5 million grant from theNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) tofurther its AIDS vaccine development, the Cambridge, Mass., companysaid Wednesday.The four-year grant is a continuation of a five-year, $5-million grantpreviously awarded to Therion by the NIAID. Therion exclusivelylicensed the rights to AIDS vaccines based on the attenuated(genetically deleted) viral technology from Harvard University inMarch 1993. Ronald Desrosiers, a professor at Harvard UniversityMedical School, also received a NIAID grant _ $ 6 million over fouryears _ to develop live, attenuated AIDS vaccines."The grants will support two complementary and promising approachesto developing AIDS vaccines," said Dennis Panicali, Therion'spresident and chief executive officer. "Therion's AIDS vaccinestrategy is based on developing recombinant vaccines containingmultiple HIV antigens, and Dr. Desrosiers' strategy is based oncreating live AIDS vaccines with genetic deletions designed to disablethe disease-causing capacity of the virus."He said the grants will fund research aimed at determining which HIVantigens are needed to trigger a protective response.Last week Therion started Phase I clinical trials with its first AIDSvaccine candidate, TBC-3B, developed under the previous grant. Thecompany said its the first recombinant AIDS vaccine tested in humansthat expresses several major proteins of HIV. _ Jim Shrine
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