Emergent BioSolutions has secured a multi-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, to advance the development of MVA85A, a candidate vaccine against tuberculosis (TB).

The vaccine is being developed through a partnership between Aeras and the Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium (OETC), a joint venture between Emergent and the University of Oxford.

Sponsored by Aeras, the Phase 2b clinical trial is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in over 2,700 infants in South Africa, and the results from the study are expected later this year.

MVA85A is also currently being studied in a second Phase 2b clinical trial, with primary funding and support from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership and Aeras, which will enrol approximately 1,400 adults with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Senegal and South Africa.

Emergent BioSolutions president and chief operating officer Daniel Abdun-Nabi said, "With efficacy data expected in the coming months, we are hopeful that MVA85A will have a significant impact on the global burden of this highly contagious and lethal disease."

Previous clinical trials of the MVA85A vaccine in adults have demonstrated consistently high cellular immune responses in those who received the MVA85A vaccine candidate following vaccination with BCG.

Around 1.5 million people die from TB annually, and more than two billion people are infected with TB, according to the World Health Organization.

Emergent BioSolutions develops and manufactures vaccines and therapeutics that target infectious diseases, oncology and autoimmune disorders.