Nonclinical Development

The faculty and staff of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development (SCVD) strive to create, perfect and promote the most effective and safest disease prevention strategies.

To take a vaccine from the discovery phase to the marketplace requires a few steps in between. Before vaccines can be tested in human clinical trials, researchers must do preclinical testing for safety and efficacy. In addition, vaccines for many biodefense and emerging infectious disease pathogens may be approved in the United States under the alternative "Animal Rule" pathway, where pivotal efficacy studies in relevant animal models replace traditional phase III efficacy trials in humans.

At the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), the SCVD has experience with basic research and nonclinical development and testing, and internationally-recognized expertise in emerging and neglected infectious diseases. The center also has excellent resources and access to the university’s many core facilities. The SCVD can assist scientists and vaccine developers with:

  • In vitro and in vivo research and development of biologically relevant animal models to study multiple infectious and non-infectious diseases
  • Development and evaluation of new adjuvants and novel vaccine platforms
  • Immunogenicity testing and in vitro antiviral screening using high-throughput robotic equipment
  • Preliminary safety and toxicology studies in a variety of test systems
  • Nonclinical studies for animal model qualification and vaccine efficacy testing for Animal Rule approvals in accordance with a quality system based on the principles of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP).

UTMB has the research infrastructure available in state-of-the-art ACL2/3, BSL2/ABSL2, BSL3/ABSL3, and BSL4/ABSL4 capacity and aerosol challenge facilities. The SCVD welcomes collaborations with individual investigators, companies and government agencies, both locally and internationally.

Dr. Weaver in the lab.