Florida’s Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida has entered into a three-year research collaboration with Merck in the field of HIV latency. Under the collaboration, investigators from both institutions will develop new and novel methods to characterize potential latency candidates, discover and validate targets and pathways that could facilitate the elimination of latently infected cells, and identify biomarkers that would be predictive of HIV eradication in vivo.

Primary researchers at VGTI-FL include Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, Ph.D., Co-Director and Chief Scientific Officer of VGTI-FL and Nicolas Chomont, Ph.D., Assistant Member at VGTI-FL.

“The collaboration with Merck is what VGTI-FL is all about: translating research into improving health. This collaboration with a major developer of antivirals will not only allow us to enhance our discovery efforts but also to enhance our efforts to develop drugs that may help the global effort to eradicate HIV,” stated Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, Ph.D.

“Collaborations with academic institutions such as VGTI-FL are a key aspect of our strategy to advance research toward the eradication of HIV,” said Daria Hazuda, Ph.D., World Wide Basic Head for Infectious Disease Research at Merck. “This agreement complements our previously announced collaborations with NIH sponsored programs led by investigators at the University of California San Francisco and University of North Carolina,” added Dr. Hazuda.


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