Athens, Ga. - The University of Georgia's Center of Vaccines and Immunology (CVI) and Sanofi Pasteur, the world's largest manufacturer of influenza vaccines, have signed an agreement to extend and expand their existing research collaboration for an additional two years, effective February 1, 2018.  Since 2012, the laboratory of Dr. Ted M. Ross and Sanofi Pasteur have been researching and testing broadly-protective influenza vaccine candidates. 

In this second phase, the focus will be to critically evaluate new H3N2 and B influenza candidates generated using the Computationally Optimized Broadly Reactive Antigen (COBRA) method, in pre-clinical studies. This follows previous work that focused on assessing COBRA antigen targeted towards both seasonal and newly emerging, pre-pandemic influenza strains. Currently, researchers have identified a vaccine candidate that protects against multiple co-circulating strains of H3N2 influenza in mouse and ferret models. Previously, Dr. Ross and his team identified H1N1 influenza vaccines that elicited antibodies that neutralized decades of historical H1N1 isolates, as well as current H1N1 strains.  The goal of this work is to research and develop new influenza vaccines that offer broader protection and the potential to replace the current standard of care, as well as understand the mechanism by which the extended protection is afforded.  . 
 
"We are honored to continue and expand our collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur," said Ted M. Ross, director of UGA's Center for Vaccines and Immunology and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Infectious Diseases in the College of Veterinary Medicine. "This research has the potential to deliver next generation influenza vaccine strategies that are better able to manage influenza viral drift.  It will be important that we evaluate these novel strategies in clinical trials to assess their performance in the target population."

 "Sanofi Pasteur is committed to finding a more broadly protective influenza vaccine," said Dr. Harry Kleanthous, Science & Innovation Officer at Sanofi Pasteur. "The collaborative work with the UGA CVI has been very productive, furthering the scientific fields understanding of influenza vaccination, and moving us closer towards the goal of delivering an improved and more protective influenza vaccine. This new agreement allows us to continue this critical work that we began with UGA in 2015."