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The Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital was founded in 2009 to accelerate the translation of laboratory discoveries into new, cost-effective therapies and treatments to prevent and cure various forms of cancer, infectious and immune mediated diseases.
In a unique collaboration, the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) works with medical, scientific and business professionals, companies and organizations that can move the process of research further toward the practical application of vaccines and immunotherapies in medical care. VIC is committed to the support of cutting edge research initiatives to accelerate their critical transition from early discovery to in human studies.
VIC is directed by Mark Poznansky, MD, PhD, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Attending Physician in Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to Dr. Poznansky’s extensive research and clinical experience, VIC has the support of Associate Director Timothy Brauns, MBA, Senior Project Manager Ann Sluder, PhD, and an expanding research team of committed scientists. VIC is also backed by a large and diverse network of advisors who have extensive expertise in the science behind its innovations, in the manufacturing and regulatory challenges that face new drugs and vaccines, and in the business and finance environments of the life sciences.
VIC’s single most important metric for success is to accelerate the efficient and effective early-stage development of new vaccines and immunotherapies for cancer, infectious diseases and immune-mediated diseases. VIC works with a wide range of technologies and is currently managing six at the preclinical stage of development. Technologies under development at VIC address the prevention or treatment of influenza, Q fever, Zika, ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, type 1 diabetes and accelerated wound healing. Scientists leading these projects receive unique mentorship, guidance and support from Mark Poznansky, MD, PhD, his leadership team and members of the advisory board. They also have the benefit of the established interactive relationships with a number of laboratory teams within Mass General.
VIC works with a wide range of technologies that include live cells, recombinant proteins, small molecules and devices. Current therapies being developed at VIC include a novel adjuvant to improve vaccine efficacy, new immune therapies to fight ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, self-assembling vaccines for infectious diseases including influenza and Q fever, and a new method which uses encapsulation to protect transplanted insulin-producing tissues for patients with type I diabetes. In addition, VIC is nurturing seed projects in the areas of personalized vaccines and wound healing.
The development of new medicines takes too long and costs too much and so VIC has developed a model which does this faster and more cheaply. This is achieved through distributed development and assiduous project management which focuses on to time and cost project execution, an early focus on the regulatory path towards impact for patients and involves teams of scientists, project managers and collaborators from academia to industry who have specific domain expertise in moving discoveries to products and the patient’s bedside. VIC has had significant success with this novel model of accelerated translational medicine with resulting new company spin outs, grant and contractual agreements with industry, private foundations and US government agencies.
Private philanthropy has played a key role in underpinning the success that we have seen at VIC including from members of the Hill, Croatti, Newton and Feinberg families and from Mary Elizabeth Field and Mona Levenstein. VIC has also been successful in leveraging support for specific projects from governmental organizations like the NIH and DoD and private foundations including JDRF, Marsha Rivkin Foundation and the Trinity Foundation..
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