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New executive director for Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise

The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise appoints Dr Alan Bernstein as its inaugural executive director

Dr Alan Bernstein has been appointed the inaugural executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, an international alliance of researchers, funders and advocates committed to accelerating the development of an HIV vaccine.

The Enterprise is charged by its founders with setting scientific priorities, mobilising resources, and improving collaboration in the HIV vaccine field. Originally proposed by 24 leading HIV vaccine researchers in 2003, the Enterprise has to date mobilised more than USD 750m to fund its scientific plan.

Bernstein is currently the founding president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Over the past seven years, he has built CIHR into one of the world's leading research agencies, supporting more than 11,000 health researchers with an annual budget of USD 1bn. He later served as head of the Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital, and then its director of research.

Bernstein has received a number of national and international awards for his research, and has served on a large number of international scientific bodies, including the scientific board of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative.

V520 discontinued in phase II
A phase II clinical trial of Merck & Co's investigational HIV vaccine (V520) was discontinued back in September 2007, because it was not effective.

The announcement was made by Merck & Co and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), which is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NiH).

The trial, called STEP, was an international phase II test-of-concept trial in uninfected volunteers at high risk for acquiring HIV infection. The independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for STEP reviewed safety data and results of an interim efficacy analysis of the study, and recommended that vaccination be discontinued because the trial did not meet its efficacy endpoints.

30th September 2008

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