Aeras is a non-profit product development organization dedicated to the development of effective tuberculosis vaccine regimens that will prevent TB infection in all age groups and will be affordable, available and adopted worldwide. Founded in 2003, Aeras is located in Rockville, Maryland, USA.
Need for TB vaccines
Tuberculosis kills 1.4 million people each year. About one-third of the world's population is infected with tuberculosis, and of these, nearly 9 million people become sick with the disease each year. Multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug resistant (XDR-TB) tuberculosis is a threatening issue with a global impact, as TB can easily spread from person to person.
The only existing vaccine against TB is the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which is over 90 years old. Unfortunately, it is only partially effective; it provides some protection against severe forms of pediatric TB, but is unreliable against adult pulmonary TB, which accounts for most of the disease burden worldwide. There is therefore an urgent need for a modern, safe and effective vaccine that would prevent all forms of TB, including the drug-resistant strains, in all age groups and among people with HIV.
Aeras is a non-profit product development organization dedicated to the development of effective tuberculosis (TB) vaccines and biologics to prevent TB across all age groups in an affordable and sustainable manner. Aeras utilizes its broad capabilities and technologies in collaboration with numerous partners and stakeholders to support the development of vaccines and other biopharmaceuticals to address TB and other significant public health needs of underserved populations.
Aeras has three main objectives. First, to advance the world's leading TB vaccine candidates forward towards licensing and availability by reviewing data from clinical trials and selecting only the most promising candidates for large-scale Phase III trials. Second, to rationalize the TB vaccine development process by attempting to validate animal models and immunologic markers capable of predicting vaccine induced protection in humans, which will expedite development of more effective vaccines in the future. And third, to maintain a robust TB vaccine pipeline so that subsequent generations of better vaccines that prevent reactivation of latent infection will be brought forward.
Aeras receives funding from a number of donors. In 2007, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced $200 million grant to continue research for the next five years and has been a major donor since its inception. In 2012, Aeras received a grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for up to $220 million over five years.   Other major donors include the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UK Department for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control, the Danish International Development Agency, and the Research Council of Norway.
Aeras has invented or is supporting the development of six TB vaccine candidates, five of which are undergoing Phase I and Phase II clinical testing in Africa, Asia, North America and Europe. 
Aeras works with partners to review and prioritize candidates using a stage-gating system. Aeras uses scientific approaches, including challenge models, systems biology and innovative vaccine designs to accelerate advancement of vaccine candidates.
Aeras partners with clinical research sites at several locations worldwide. Clinical trials are taking place in Worcester, South Africa at the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative; Kisumu, Kenya at KEMRI/CDC; in Manhica, Mozambique at the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM). In 2012, the U.S. National Institutes of Health HIV-funded research sites joined a pediatric TB vaccine study.