Kerry M. Empey, PharmD, PhD, in collaboration with Calder Biosciences, Inc., has been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to develop a maternal vaccine that protects mother and child against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV is the most common cause of lung disease in children less than 1 year of age and is also a significant cause of respiratory illness in adults.

Development of a vaccine to protect both mother and newborn is a strategic priority for the NIH. This grant award is the first of a two-phase SBIR program to identify an optimally safe and effective adjuvant to pair with Calder’s novel RSV immunogen for maternal vaccination. Empey will conduct pre-clinical studies to test different vaccine adjuvants and will assess the kinetics of RSV neutralizing antibody. The adjuvant that elicits the greatest safety and efficacy will advance to Phase II of the SBIR program.

Empey is an assistant professor in the Pharmacy and Therapeutics department at PittPharmacy.

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