New AIDS vaccine lab for NYC

The world's first independent laboratory devoted solely to the development of an linkurl:AIDS;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53516/ vaccine opens today (Nov. 12) in Brooklyn, New York. The new facility represents a new front in the effort to create an AIDS vaccine after recent, high profile clinical trial linkurl:failures;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54838/ of vaccine candidates. The linkurl:International AIDS Vaccine Initiative's;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Nov 11, 2008
The world's first independent laboratory devoted solely to the development of an linkurl:AIDS;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53516/ vaccine opens today (Nov. 12) in Brooklyn, New York. The new facility represents a new front in the effort to create an AIDS vaccine after recent, high profile clinical trial linkurl:failures;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54838/ of vaccine candidates. The linkurl:International AIDS Vaccine Initiative's;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53947/ (IAVI) AIDS Vaccine Design and Development Laboratory will be the first lab to take residence in the New York Science Center, or BioBAT, which takes its name from the sprawling linkurl:Brooklyn Army Terminal,;http://www.brooklynarmyterminal.com/ in which it is nestled. The approximately 38,000 square foot linkurl:BSL3;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55166/ lab will initially focus on developing replicating vectors for an AIDS vaccine. "What they're trying to do is look at a whole range of replicating vectors and running them through a sieve," evaluating their safety, specificity, stability, and ability to transport an antigen, IAVI president linkurl:Seth Berkeley;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/12461/ told __The Scientist__. The lab, Berkley said,...
ine opens today (Nov. 12) in Brooklyn, New York. The new facility represents a new front in the effort to create an AIDS vaccine after recent, high profile clinical trial linkurl:failures;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54838/ of vaccine candidates. The linkurl:International AIDS Vaccine Initiative's;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53947/ (IAVI) AIDS Vaccine Design and Development Laboratory will be the first lab to take residence in the New York Science Center, or BioBAT, which takes its name from the sprawling linkurl:Brooklyn Army Terminal,;http://www.brooklynarmyterminal.com/ in which it is nestled. The approximately 38,000 square foot linkurl:BSL3;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55166/ lab will initially focus on developing replicating vectors for an AIDS vaccine. "What they're trying to do is look at a whole range of replicating vectors and running them through a sieve," evaluating their safety, specificity, stability, and ability to transport an antigen, IAVI president linkurl:Seth Berkeley;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/12461/ told __The Scientist__. The lab, Berkley said, hopes to produce one or two viable vectors in the near future. "Our timeline is probably that we'll have candidates for moving into the clinic in about three or four years," he said. "We will start seeing output from this lab very very quickly." Berkley also said that the lab will conduct research on immunogen design, validating assays in non-human primates, and antigen development to complement the vector development work there. The new IAVI lab in Brooklyn will become a part of IAVI's network of labs, such as its Human Core Immunology Laboratory in London and its recently opened neutralizing antibody center at the Scripps Research Institute near San Diego. "The idea is to create a global network of laboratories working on these problems," Berkley said. The $20 million facility will house IAVI scientists coming from backgrounds in academia and industrial vaccine development, according to Berkley. IAVI expects to employ 40 people at the lab within four years, and plans to add a research animal facility in the near future. The Brooklyn Army Terminal was built during World War I, overlooking Upper New York Bay, and serves as a new site to stage New York City's push to become a bioscience industrial hub. According to Lenzie Harcum, vice president in Biosciences at the New York City Economic Development Commission, linkurl:New York;http://www.the-scientist.com/supplement/2004-11-22/ is an ideal location, in part because of the wealth of academic institutions - and the approximate $1 billion in NIH funding they attract every year - in the city. "We have this tremendous engine of innovation," he told __The Scientist__. The IAVI lab was funded mostly by New York City, which chipped in about $12 million, with the remainder coming from IAVI and various tax credits. Harcum said that he hopes the IAVI lab will further invigorate what he called a "growing cluster" of bioscience companies in the city, adding that he expects other life science companies to eventually join IAVI at BioBAT. "Certainly, having that kind of company established here and maintaining its presence here is important to growing the biotech cluster in New York City," he said. Harcum also said that the $42 million BioBAT project, which began about two years ago, has thus far escaped difficulties related to the recent global economic downturn. "We don't foresee any problems in the financing of any of our research park projects," he said.

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