Moderna, IAVI link to tackle global disease with mRNA

April 8, 2022

Moderna and IAVI, a nonprofit scientific research organization, are teaming up to use mRNA to develop new therapies for a range of diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, antimicrobial-resistant enteric infection and COVID-19.

The partners hope to use the mRNA technology to speed up the research and development process to get more vaccines to more people, faster. The technology is 'uniquely suited' for the job thanks to its flexibility and ability to quickly make materials used in clinical testing.

Moderna’s proven, innovative platform has the potential to be a key that unlocks rapid production of vaccine and antibody candidates that could significantly accelerate our ability to solve the most difficult public health problems,” said Mark Feinberg, president and CEO of IAVI.

Currently, the duo has a few potential vaccine candidates in the works. In January, a phase 1 trial for an HIV vaccine began, representing the first time mRNA for HIV vaccines was evaluated in humans, according to IAVI. The trial, IAVI G002, is testing HIV vaccine antigens delivered as mRNA and originally developed as a protein by William Schief, executive director of vaccine design at IAVI’s neutralizing antibody center (NAC).

Another phase 1 trial of the HIV treatment is expected to begin sometime this year in South Africa and Rwanda, according to IAVI.

Other studies, like those for TB vaccine candidates and antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, HIV and antimicrobial-resistant enteric pathogens, are in preclinical stages. Scientists at NAC are working with Moderna’s researchers to improve the antibody-mRNA platform and establish proof-of-concept for testing in humans.

“With our mRNA technology and IAVI’s discovery and development expertise, together we have an opportunity to address persistent global health threats,” said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna.