Aeras and China National Biotech Group Sign Memorandum of Understanding for TB Vaccine R&D Collaboration

ROCKVILLE, Md. and BEIJING, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Aeras and the China National Biotech Group (CNBG) today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the organizations to pursue opportunities to jointly develop tuberculosis (TB) vaccines in China and potentially other parts of the world.

The partnership is intended to leverage both organizations' capabilities to support the development of TB vaccines. TB is a major public health priority in China, where there are more than one million new TB cases every year. The scope of potential activities will cover the full spectrum of product development, including pre-clinical development, process development and manufacturing, and clinical development in TB and potentially other disease areas. Details of the specific activities and areas of focus of the collaboration will be set forth in a future definitive agreement.

"Aeras is excited to expand our relationship with CNBG," said Jim Connolly, President & Chief Executive Officer of Aeras. "The synergy created by bringing together CNBG's considerable infrastructure and manufacturing expertise with Aeras' promising TB vaccine pipeline, as well as our clinical and technical expertise, will significantly enhance the likelihood of a new TB vaccine being developed quickly and efficiently."

"At CNBG, we recognize the urgent need to combat tuberculosis and other infectious diseases in both China and around the world," said Xiaoming Yang, President of CNBG. "This new collaboration will bring more opportunities to both organizations in pursuing greater innovation and building increased technical capacity for vaccine development."

The global TB epidemic is responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people annually. Co-infection with HIV/AIDS and the spread of drug-resistant forms of TB make it difficult to diagnose and treat, especially in poor and marginalized communities. New tools to prevent TB, including vaccines, are urgently needed.

About Aeras

Aeras (www.aeras.org) is a non-profit product development organization dedicated to the development of effective TB vaccines and biologics to prevent TB across all age groups in an affordable and sustainable manner. Aeras utilizes its broad capabilities and technologies in collaboration with numerous partners and stakeholders to support the development of vaccines and other biopharmaceuticals to address TB and other significant public health needs of underserved populations. Aeras has invented or supported the development of six TB vaccine candidates to date, five of which are currently undergoing Phase I and Phase II clinical testing in Africa, Asia and North America. Aeras receives funding from private foundations and governments. Aeras is based in Rockville, Maryland, USA where it operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing and laboratory facility and Cape Town, South Africa.

About CNBG

CNBG (www.cnbg.com.cn) is a state-owned enterprise belonging to China's National Pharmaceutical Corporation (Sinopharm). CNBG has 11 subsidiaries and is the largest biotech corporation in China engaged in the research and development, manufacturing and marketing of biological products. CNBG manufactures more than 200 kinds of biological products (with approximately 100 GMP product lines) for prophylactic, therapeutic and diagnostic use, including all the vaccines in China's EPI programme, and maintains an 80% share of the public sector in China. In 2010, the annual output of CNBG reached 730 million doses, and it maintains one of the broadest portfolios of vaccine products in the world.

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