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The government announced on February 8, 2019 by a joint statement of Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and Guillaume Boudy, Secretary General for Investment his decision to extend for 5 years the VRI - Labex Vaccine Research Institute following the positive evaluation carried out by the international jury.

Created in 2011 in the first wave of the “programme d’investissement d’avenir” (PIA1), the VRI has implemented a new and innovative vaccinology approach via “reprogramming” the immune system through the development of vaccines based on the most recent knowledge of basic immunology, innovative route of vaccination and/or combined prime boost strategy, and an integrated approach for the high-fidelity evaluation of vaccine/immunomodulatory strategies.

As highlighted by the ANR international jury, the VRI has reached key objectives: i) the development of innovative vaccines from discovery concepts to in vitro validation and basic knowledge; ii) the development of new strategies from preclinical models to phase I/II clinical trials; iii) the set-up of innovative technological platforms to evaluate these vaccines strategies; iv) a Master 2 degree program for dissemination of vaccine knowledge at national and European level and the participation to a graduate school in Digital Public Health (Bordeaux University).

This integrated program led us to select for manufacturing the first generation of DC-based vaccines that will enter phase I/II clinical trials in 2019, according to the primary objective of the VRI stated in 2011.

Next steps

In the future, the labex will concentrate its efforts on the clinical evaluation of these candidate vaccines with the ultimate goal to select the best-in-class strategy that will be pushed in further clinical development plans. This will require the continuation of an ambitious program associating the improvement of the concepts of vaccine tools and strategies, their down-selection in the preclinical models and a better understanding of the mechanisms of vaccine responses. The expertise and know-how developed in the consortium put us in an excellent position and guarantee the success of the program.