For speeding the delivery of an effective candidate vaccine during the largest Ebola outbreak in history, the Frederick National Lab (as Leidos Biomed) was cited along with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and GlaxoSmithKline in winning an Excellence in Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer.

Claudia HaywoodThe award was presented April 26 during the FLC’s national meeting in San Antonio. Claudia Haywood, Director of Intellectual Property and Strategic Agreements, was recognized along seven other members of the team from NIAID and GSK.

The FLC announcement hailed the importance of the cooperative effort to hasten the delivery of a safe and effective vaccine for Ebola during the 2014 public health crisis. With more than 90 nominations for the awards, competition was intense, the announcement said.

“We thank our winners, and their competitors, for a great job in realizing the technology transfer potential within their laboratories,” the announcement said.

“The public-private partnership began with a collaborative research project and culminated, seven years later, in clinical trials of the resulting Ebolavirus vaccine. These trials began in September 2014, and GSK continues to develop the vaccine candidates under a license agreement with NIAID in order to prepare for future outbreaks of Ebolavirus disease.”

NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) had been working to develop an effective Ebola vaccine for more than 15 years. In 2008, the VRC’s Nancy Sullivan, Ph.D., collaborated with Dr. Alfredo Nicosia at Okairos, a Switzerland-based biotechnology company, to develop candidate vaccines.

By 2014, the collaboration had produced a candidate vaccine intended for clinical trials in early 2015. But these plans were accelerated in response to the public health crisis, with the assistance of FNL scientists supporting NIAID.

The Frederick National Lab has been instrumental in the public health response to the Ebola crisis, and continues to support affected communities in West Africa.

By Frank Blanchard, Staff Writer, image by Richard Frederickson, Staff Photographer