Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Ending the Pandemic Threat: A Grand Challenge for Universal Influenza Vaccine Development

Deadline: 22 June 2018

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Page Family have launched a program entitled ” Ending the Pandemic Threat: A Grand Challenge for Universal Influenza Vaccine Development” to identify novel, transformative concepts that will lead to development of universal influenza vaccines offering protection from morbidity and mortality caused by all subtypes of circulating and emerging (drifted and shifted) Influenza A subtype viruses and Influenza Blineage viruses for at least three to five years. It is envisaged that such a universal influenza vaccine would address the threat from both seasonal and pandemic influenza, thus alleviating the need for annual seasonal influenza vaccination campaigns, averting significant global morbidity and mortality, and better preparing the world for the next influenza pandemic.

Broad Categories

  • Antigen-centric: discovering new antigens/targets through Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and/or Deep Learning approaches to get beyond traditional surface hemagglutinin
  • Host-centric: approaches that (a) generate, enhance, or modify human immune protection, including sterilizing immunity (b) ensure longer term (possibly life-long) immune response (c) describe surrogates for longevity of immune response and (d) that target specific tissue or cell types for appropriate induction of local and systemic immunity leading to broader and longer protection
  • Technology-centric: including (a) novel vaccine concepts, targets and constructs inspired by new observations or understanding about the nature of the influenza virus or the human response to itand (b) applications of radically new technologies for disease protection, such as production of immunogens using synthetic biology or radical genetic engineering approaches
  • Enabling advances: including challenge models to quickly demonstrate safety and proof-of-concept for influenza vaccines

Award Information

Pilot awards ($250,000 up to $ 2 million): This request for proposals intends to fund pilot awards of up to USD $2 million over 2 years, with the anticipation that one or more pilot projects, on demonstration of promising proof-of-concept data (e.g., from animal models), may be invited to apply for a full award up to USD $10 million. Full awards would be intended to fund IND-enabling and clinical studies.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Grand Challenges is open to both foreign and domestic organizations, including non-profit organizations, for- profit companies, international organizations, government agencies and academic institutions.
  • Individuals and organizations classified as individuals for U.S. tax purposes are not eligible to receive an award from the foundation as part of the Grand Challenges initiative
  • Upon registration, applicants must provide information about the tax status of their organization as different terms and conditions may apply. Applicants should confirm organization’s tax status with the appropriate advisor or entity within their organization such as their grants or contracts department, finance, or office of sponsored research.

How to Apply

Applicants can apply online via given website.

For more information, please visit Ending the Pandemic Threat.

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