Emory University and the Queensland Institute for Medical Research in Australia are forming a research alliance to develop new vaccines for infectious diseases and cancers.
The partnership, funded initially with a $1.8 million grant from the Smart Future Fund in Queensland, was announced May 19 at the BIO International Convention at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
The new program will be called the Queensland-U.S. Vaccine Technology Alliance.
“The bioscience industry is all about collaboration,” said Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue in announcing the alliance. “This partnership combines two of the world’s leading vaccine researchers.”
Emory University president James Wagner called the program, “a new opportunity to join knowledge.” Just as diseases know no political boundaries, so should research be unrestricted by borders, he said. “We are very optimistic that this global collaboration will create effective and inspiring results,” he said.
The state of Queensland has been pouring billions of dollars into biotech research, said its minister of natural resources, mines and energy, Stephen Robertson. The cervical cancer vaccine that is now widely in use was developed at the University of Queensland.
“We don’t want to stop there, we don’t want to rest on our laurels,” Mr. Robertson said at the news conference announcing the new vaccine program with Emory.
Emory also announced that it will launch the Emory Institute for Drug Discovery which will be led by Dennis Liotta, an Emory chemistry professor who is one of the inventors of drugs taken by more than 94 percent of HIV/AIDS patients in the U.S.
The institute will focus on” commercially neglected” diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and measles, said Dr. Wagner. “It will focus not necessarily on the blockbuster drugs that might be the first attraction for development by large Pharma,” he said.
Part of the mission of the institute will be to partner with researchers in other nations, he added.
A third collaborative medical project, the Global Center for Medical Innovation, was also announced at the BIO conference.
The Georgia Institute of Technology, Saint Joseph’s Translational Research Institute, Piedmont Healthcare Inc. and the Georgia Research Alliance will develop new medical devices. It will be located adjacent to the Georgia Tech campus in Technology Enterprise Park and will bring together physicians and engineers. They will initially focus on the areas of cardiology, orthopedics and pediatrics.