The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) was awarded a contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help speed up the development of potential AIDS vaccines.

According to an IAVI press release, the contract provides $98 million over seven years. Specifically, IAVI will provide various services to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the NIH, in its quest to manufacture HIV envelope protein immunogens that can prevent infection.

These immunogens are being developed to induce a protective immune response that fights off HIV. The hope is to manufacture them and then test them in human clinical trials.

“NIAID is the largest funder of HIV vaccine research worldwide, and IAVI welcomes the opportunity to work with them to help advance their efforts and those of the numerous outstanding researchers they support,” said IAVI president and CEO Mark Feinberg in the press release.

“IAVI is dedicated to expediting the development and global availability of an effective HIV vaccine, and is committed to supporting the success of the overall efforts of the HIV vaccine field,” he continued. “Building on IAVI’s experience in the characterization and production of HIV envelope vaccine candidates, our efforts to advance the work of NIAID-supported investigators will also provide additional opportunities to develop and share insights and innovations into how to make the HIV vaccine production process as reliable, robust and timely as possible. Given the imperative to accelerate HIV vaccine development efforts, this new partnership with NIAID promises to facilitate meaningful progress and impact towards this goal.”

In related news, this year marks two decades that IAVI has been searching for an end to the epidemic. For an interview with Feinberg about the initiative’s work, read the POZ Q&A “Positive Ends.”