ABL News

ABL Awarded National Cancer Institute Contract to Continue Groundbreaking Retroviral Research

  • March 24, 2015

Rockville, MD – March 24, 2015 – ABL, Inc., a biomedical contract research and manufacturing organization to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, is pleased to announce it was awarded contract # HHSN261201500001C for the “Support for Research on Retroviral Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention” by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).  This successful recompete is funded for $2,586,789 over three years and extends ABL’s prime management of this program to over 30 years.

In its role as prime systems integrator for the retroviral research program, ABL scientists have worked alongside leading NCI investigators to identify and characterize retroviruses (including HIV), uncovering some of the fundamental mechanisms of how retroviruses evade the body’s immune system, and linking these viruses to infectious disease and leukemia.  ABL’s staff has worked to find innovative vaccine and therapeutic designs to prevent and treat infection, developing novel cell lines, manufacturing platforms and assay methods translating basic research discoveries into viable candidates for clinical evaluation in humans.

Under the current contract, ABL’s efforts encompass developing isolation and detection methods to characterize retroviruses (e.g. HIV, SIV, SHIV) and novel virus isolates, and produce viral vectors (e.g., poxviruses) for vaccine delivery. ABL produces native and recombinant structural and regulatory viral proteins as well as antibodies against antigens of interest. Viruses, or their components, are biologically, biochemically, molecularly and immunologically characterized and selected for the preparation of well characterized, titered, stocks used for in vitro studies and for in vivo challenges. ABL scientists have developed a variety of molecular biological procedures to detect and quantify viral and cellular nucleic acids (e.g., Real Time NASBA, PCR, Real-Time PCR) in plasma and tissues from infected animals and humans. They have also developed immunoassays to assess the viral effects on the immune system in clinical and preclinical settings. These tools have been shown to be essential to determining candidate vaccine or therapeutic efficacy.

ABL’s President and CEO, Dr. Thomas VanCott, commented, “Many of the current approaches to retroviral studies today in infectious disease and oncology stem from the pioneering discoveries made in ABL laboratories. Under contract with NCI, ABL was involved in the discovery of the first human retroviruses (HTLV-I and HTLV-II) from leukemia patients.  Our team participated in establishing the etiological link between HTLV-I and adult T-cell leukemia, and later identifying the link between HIV-1 and AIDS. The first ELISA and Western blot assays to detect HIV-1 in clinical samples were also developed in ABL laboratories during this time. We are very proud to continue working with NCI at the forefront of establishing the tools required to study retroviruses.”

About ABL, Inc.

ABL, Inc. is a global biomedical contract research and manufacturing organization dedicated to advancing vaccines, therapeutics and other biologic products. ABL has extensive experience working with diverse organizations, including the U.S. Government, biopharmaceutical companies and academic entities. Notable contract manufacturing services include process and assay development, cGMP biologics manufacturing of bulk drug substance, cGMP aseptic fill and finish of drug product, and QC analytics in the U.S. and Europe.  ABL also maintains U.S. and European immunological and molecular laboratories to support preclinical and GCLP clinical sample processing and testing. ABL is a part of the Institut Mérieux, a group of companies dedicated to developing translational science for better patient care globally.

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