Tuberculosis vaccine development funded

Procept, a biotechnology firm specializing in small molecule therapeutics, has received a federal grant to help develop a tuberculosis vaccine.

The Boston-based company received a $1 million small business innovation grant from the National Institutes of Health for a vaccine that utilizes what is called the CC1 system of lipid antigen presentation.

The CD1 system involves cells that utilize the CD1 molecules to present foreign antigens from infectious agents to stimulate T cells. The T cells then mount an immune response to the invading organism.

The discovery of the CD1 system was made by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Last year, Procept and a group of biotechnology executives joined to form VacTex Corp., which focuses on the development of therapeutic or preventive vaccines for infectious diseases. "We believe that this ground-breaking research in immunology has presented us with an important new avenue to address some of the most infectious diseases," says Robert Carpenter, chairman of VacTex.