Research Announcements

Jon C Mirsalis, PhD, DABT Special Guest Speaker

A New Paradigm for Engaging the War on Infectious Diseases

February 17, 2015, Noon
Durham Research Center Auditorium

From the 1950s through the 1970s, the success of antibiotics and vaccines in controlling or eradicating infectious diseases (ID) worldwide resulted in decreased emphasis on development of ID vaccines and therapeutics.  The emergence in the past three decades of the potential for bioterrorist attacks as well as emerging diseases such as SARS, West Nile, avian flu, swine flu, Ebola, has reversed this trend and renewed interest in treatment and prophylaxis of ID.  Unfortunately, since potential sales of therapeutics for bioterrorist pathogens are limited mainly to orders for government stockpiles (e.g., anthrax, smallpox, botulinum toxin), and the development cost is high, traditional large pharmaceutical companies have cut back R&D resources in this arena.  To combat this investment shortfall, a new paradigm has emerged where public-private partnerships between the NIH, DOD, World Health Organization, private foundations, academia, and non-profits, are beginning to function like pharmaceutical companies to advance the development of promising ID drugs, even when there is little opportunity for profit.  This talk will discuss the growing need for ID vaccines and therapeutics, present new models for discovering and developing them, and provide examples of public-private partnerships that have advanced therapeutics for specific infectious diseases.

Dr. Jon C. Mirsalis, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., is Managing Director of the Biosciences Division and Executive Director of Translational Development at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA.  Dr. Mirsalis is an internationally recognized expert in the development of drugs for infectious diseases.

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