Ella Foundation Wins $100,000 Grant To Develop Polio Vaccine

Ella Foundation, the non-profit arm of Bharat Biotech, received a $100k grant from Grand Challenges Explorations to develop a new live polio vaccine to help eradicate poliomyelitis. The aim is to eliminate vaccine-derived polio virus (VDPV), while maintaining safety, efficacy, ease of manufacturing and administration.

May 12, 2012

Close-up of a young girl in a rural area of India receiving the oral polio vaccine. The setting appears to be outdoors.
Close-up of a young girl in a rural area of India receiving the oral polio vaccine. The setting appears to be outdoors.

Ella Foundation, the not-for-profit arm of the founder Bharat Biotech, has received a  $100,000 grant from Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The grant will help Ella Foundation pursue development of a highly ‘disabled’ virus to ‘check-mate’ polio after the phasing out of oral poliovirus (OPV) vaccine, as part of an innovative global health research project.

The project to ‘check-mate the polio virus’ during and after the eradication of poliomyelitis could result in a live polio vaccine that cannot perpetuate. Such a vaccine could carry the beneficial effects of an oral polio vaccine namely safety, efficacy, ease of manufacture, distribution and administration along with the safety profile of an injectable polio vaccine by eliminating vaccine derived polio virus (VDPV).

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mould in how to solve persistent global health and development challenges. Ella Foundation’s project is one of over 100 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 8 grants announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Grand Challenges Explorations encourages individuals worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas where creative, unorthodox thinking is most urgently needed. “We have  provided additional funding for select grantees so that they can continue to advance their idea towards global impact,” said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Grand Challenges Explorations funds scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mould in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges.

To receive funding, Ella Foundation and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 8 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, immunisation and nutrition.

“Vaccines play a crucial role in the eradication of diseases that affect millions of lives worldwide. The GCE grant will help us accelerate the pace of research programmes and explore new solutions in global health priority areas,” said Dr. Krishna Ella, Co-Founder, Ella Foundation.

The grant US$ 100 million was launched in 2008. Over 600 people in 45 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant programme is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organisation. The initiative is an accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of US$ 100,000 are awarded twice a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$ 1 million.

Ella Foundation is located in Genome Valley in Hyderabad, is an initiative by Dr Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella, heads of Bharat Biotech, is recognised as an independent Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation since 2002.The key focus of the  Foundation’s research activities is infectious diseases, the various areas of research and development include epidemiology, genomics and evolution, structure-function analyses, host- pathogen interaction and disease pathogenesis, vaccines and therapeutics as well as diagnostics.

Ella Foundation has been successful in obtaining grant funding from global funding agencies for its ongoing research projects such as adenovirus vectored vaccines, reverse genetics technology, bovinemastitis, salmonellosis, laboratory animal health monitoring etc. It has also been instrumental in developing cell culture based vaccines for influenza.

About Ella Foundation

ELLA FOUNDATION is a non-profit autonomous research organisation dedicated to research, development and training in various facets of modern biology. Its mission is to generate knowledge for human and animal health, and contribute to economic advancement through research and development (R&D) in contemporary biomedical and veterinary sciences, besides working on traditional projects.

The Foundation is located in the middle of Genome Valley in Hyderabad and draws collaboration from regional, national, as well as international public and private organisations. Established in 2002, the Foundation is engaged in basic and applied research to tackle human and animal diseases, and is recognised by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India as an independent R&D organisation.

Ella Foundation drives R&D as an adventure, employing state-of-the-art techniques to advance microbe-caused disease understanding.

Genome Valley, Shameerpet

Hyderabad – 500078

Telangana, India

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