FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Seattle, WA. October 21, 2019

The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) announced the award of a groundbreaking multi-year contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The goal of the contract, which may total up to $44.8 million over seven years if all contract options are exercised, is to comprehensively identify the complex immune responses required to prevent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection or active tuberculosis (TB) disease. The project is titled “A cross-species mechanistic interrogation of mycobacterial and vaccine-induced immunity.”

“The essential information that is missing in the fight against tuberculosis is knowing what it takes to protect someone from the disease,” says Rhea Coler, PhD, Senior Vice President, Preclinical and Translational Science at IDRI and Principal Investigator for the contract. “We believe that the knowledge gained from this study will provide fundamental immunological insights in the fight not only against TB, but against a host of other related diseases.”

The NIAID “Immune Mechanisms of Protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis Center (IMPAc-TB)” contract allows IDRI to partner with institutions in the US and around the world including Colorado State University, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/SCHARP, Ragon/Harvard, Denver Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center/National Jewish Health, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, Oxford University, and Public Health England to conduct complementary pre-clinical and clinical studies that will correlate data in real-time. “These studies allow us to compare and interrogate how our investigational tuberculosis vaccine is working across species in multiple laboratories, providing high quality and reproducible results,” says Dr. Coler. “This will be the first time that anyone in the field has conducted an interrogation that concurrently studies the mycobacteria- and vaccine-induced protective immunity in humans and several animal species.”

Scientists at IDRI have developed a tuberculosis vaccine candidate, ID93 + GLA-SE, which has proven safe and evokes a strong immune response in a variety of clinical settings. Studies to determine whether the vaccine is effective in preventing infection with tuberculosis, and whether ID93 + GLA-SE may increase the effectiveness of drug therapy for tuberculosis are currently ongoing. “Using the most advanced technology and platforms available, this contract allows us to collect comprehensive immunological data for the evaluation of samples derived from different experiments,” says Dr. Coler.

“Our hope is that we will be able to not only define correlative protective mechanisms against TB, but also to apply our findings to other intracellular pathogens and lung-based diseases.”

This project has been funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under contract 75N93019C00072.

About Rhea Coler, PhD:  Rhea Coler is the Senior Vice President of Preclinical and Translational Research at IDRI. Her work focuses on developing vaccines or immunotherapy for tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, flaviviruses, schistosomiasis, and influenza. Elucidating the mechanistic basis of protection against these diseases are key research questions in the Coler lab and could lead to the development and deployment of innovative prophylactic and therapeutic interventions.

About IDRI: As a nonprofit global health organization, IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute) takes a comprehensive approach to combat infectious diseases, combining the high-quality science of a research organization with the product development capabilities of a biotech company to create new vaccines, diagnostics, and drugs. Founded in 1993, IDRI has 125 employees headquartered in Seattle with more than 100 partners/collaborators around the world. For more information, visit

Contact information:
NAME: Dr. Rhea Coler
Phone: (206) 381-0883
Fax: (206): 381-3678