Deputy Director for Research: Sergey Victorovich Netesov
Corresponding Member of Russian Academy of Sciences
Deputy Director for Scientific and Innovative Policy: Sergei Ivanovich Tatkov
Mailing address: 633159 Koltsovo
Telephone: (+007) 3832 64-01-40
Fax: (+007)-3832 32-88-31
Telex: 133 196 NPO SU
State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR (SRC VB VECTOR
or just Center) is the biggest in Russia research and production organisation which basic activities are oriented towards fundamental and applied studies in the field of molecular biology
virology and biotechnology as well as production of preparations for medicine
veterinary and scientific research.
At present, the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR is a large research and production complex including a number of research institutes such as:; · Research Institute of Molecular Biology (Prof. Dr. S.V. Netesov, PhD., Dr.Sci., Director); · Research Institute of Aerobiology (Dr. V.S. Toporkov, PhD., Director),; · Research Institute of Bioengineering (Dr. A.A. Ilyichev, PhD., Dr. Sci., Director),; · Research Institute of Cell Cultures (Dr. E.A. Nechaeva, PhD., Director),; · Collection of Micro-organism Cultures (Dr. V.E. Repin, PhD., Director),; · Research Construction and Technology Institute of Biologically Active Substances (Dr. V.I. Masycheva, PhD., Dr. Sci., Director),; · Research Pilot Production Plant (Dr. S.A. Zaitsev, PhD., Director),; · Production and Sales Company VECTOR-PHARM (Dr. S.N. Targonsky, PhD., Director) and; · Agricultural Pilot Production Plant (K.A. Greylikh, Director).
Specific Tech Areas
Study of genomic structures and functions of viruses pathogenic for humans and animals; Study of evolution of the most dangerous specific viral pathogens and development of methods for their control; Study molecular diversity of viruses and bacteria; Theoretical and experimental study of pathogenetic mechanisms of viral infections and search for the corresponding promising diagnostic, prevention, and treatment tools; Development of biotechnological methods and their application for creating new biologically active substances and diagnostic, prevention, and treatment preparations of new generation; Basic ecological research; Bioaerosol research for medical, virological, and ecological purposes; Development of new technologies for manufacturing diagnostic, prevention, and treatment preparations for medicine and veterinary.
History, Personnel, Budget
The State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR (SRC VB VECTOR, or Center) is one of Russia's largest research and production facilities whose major activities are focused on carrying out basic and applied research in a wide area of natural sciences, development and manufacture of therapeutic, preventive, and diagnostic products.
The Center's basic research is aimed at generating new scientific knowledge in the areas of molecular biology, virology, genetic engineering, biotechnology, epidemiology, and ecology to meet the needs of the nation’s economy.
The history of SRC VB VECTOR dates back to 1974 when it was established as the All-Union Research Institute of Molecular Biology. In 1985, a Research and Production Association NPO VECTOR was established on its basis that later in 1994 was awarded the status of a State Research Center.
The State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR now is a large research and production complex that is comprised of several research institutes, production companies, and other departments. Moreover, the Center is an associated member of a number of unions and associations.
The main asset for the Center is Russia's unique research and experimental capabilities that allow research on extremely human-and animal pathogenic viruses whereas total biosafety for the personnel involved and the environment is guaranteed. The well-trained scientists and technicians are very experienced in handling extremely hazardous pathogens and they have outstanding expertise in virology, molecular biology, genetic and cellular engineering, biotechnology, ecology, and epidemiology.
As of January 2003, the total staff of the Center amounted to 1147. Of these, 1009 are directly involved in scientific research, including 17 DSci's and 143 Ph.D.'s.
Post-graduate courses in three specialties (molecular biology, virology, and biotechnology) that were established at the Center in 1983 greatly contribute to highly skilled researchers training. A Doctorate Dissertation Council operates at SRC VB VECTOR through which 21 Doctor of Sciences and 134 Ph.D.-equal theses on the above-mentioned specialties were obtained.
A number of VECTOR scientists have been awarded State Prizes and Awards; elected members of different national academies, have honorary titles or have been awarded special scholarships.
All the Center's facilities are located in the vicinity of Siberia's city, Novosibirsk. Therefore, in its research programs the Center seeks to address some vital public health problems of the Novosibirsk region. One of the tasks is to provide the Novosibirsk oblast with blood-processing products to include immunoglobulin against tick-borne encephalitis. VECTOR collaborates intensively with city clinics on diagnosing some infectious diseases (viral hepatitis A, B, C, D, AIDS, CMV, herpes virus, toxoplasmosis) as well as expanding the applications of VECTOR-developed antivirals.
Over the last several years, the Novosibirsk Oblast Administration has been funding a number of innovation projects at SRC VB VECTOR dealing with the development of new immunobiologicals and medicinal preparations.
The State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR is open to collaboration with research institutions and companies in both basic research and development and manufacture of therapeutic, preventive and diagnostic products for public health and veterinary medicine. With its unique capabilities for handling viral and bacterial pathogens, the highly skilled staff of the Center are able to take part in implementing many international programs and open to collaboration.
Description of Research Activity
Applied research is aimed at developing new preparations for medicine and veterinary. Development of new preparations is based on the state-of-the-art technologies (including those involving genetic engineering) created at the Center:
– Technology of peptide synthesis is being used for development of peptide preparations (Lyuliberin and desmopressin) (Institute of Molecular Biology);
– Erythropoietin (Institute of Cell Cultures), tumor necrosis factor, and Subalin (Institute of Biologically Active Substances) are being developed using recombinant technology and are now undergoing preclinical and clinical trials. Completion of their development will expand the range of competitive domestic antivirals and anticancer drugs.
– Original technologies created at the Institute of Cell Cultures are used to develop new forms of drugs and vaccines (live measles vaccine for oral administration, recombinant erythropoietin for oral administration, etc.) Development of preparations suitable for oral administration is a topical problem, first, because of their easy use and, second, as they exclude any possibility of infection with viral agents, such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, unfortunately possible while using their injection forms.
– The biotechnological background developed at the Center allowed a new original approach to production of measles virus to be found. It involves substitution of the substrate used for cultivating the vaccine strain of measles virus (Institute of Cell Cultures). This technology allowed an alternative production of measles vaccine to be organized in Russia.
Tight interconnections between research and development are a specific feature of SRC VB VECTOR. This makes VECTOR one of the most modern scientific and production institutions both in Russia and in the World.
SRC VB VECTOR has unique scientific and experimental facilities, having no analogues in any civil institutions of Russia and the CIS. These facilities allow the experiments with viruses most dangerous for humans and lacking any preparations for preventing and treating the diseases they cause to be performed at the modern level under conditions of the complete safety for the staff involved and the environment.
The Bank of Cell Cultures with SRC VB VECTOR is constantly enriched with new lines of vertebrate, insect, and plant cells. The cell cultures are stored, described, and certified in accordance with the international requirements. The Bank of Cell Cultures supplies completely all the basic and applied research of the Center as well as its manufacture of immunobiological preparations.
The Collection of Cultures of Microorganisms with the Center comprises strains of viruses, including the National Collection of variola virus strains; various isolates of viral strains; recombinant viral strains; and microbial strains (including industrial producer strains). In 1995, the WHO Commission visited the Center and affirmed that the work conditions comply with the international safety requirements. The Collection of Cultures of Microorganisms is recognized internationally: it became a full member of the European Culture Collections' Organization (ECCO).
SRC VB VECTOR collaborates with leading research centers and laboratories of USA and EC through grants of ISTC, CRDF, INTAS, INCO-Copernicus, Volkswagen Foundation, International Fogarty Foundation, Human Frontier Science International Foundation, US National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and US Industrial Partnership Program.
In the field of biomedical and biotechnological research, the Center collaborates actively with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, USA); National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, USA); Institute for Virology (Marburg, Germany); national laboratories with the US Department of Energy (BNL, PNNL, NREL, and LBNL); and US Department of Agriculture.
Presentations of SRC VB VECTOR abroad have been organized according to the initiative and thanks to the support of the Ministry of Science of the Russian Federation. Staring from 1994, the achievements of VECTOR in the fields of virology and biotechnology were presented in Poland, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Finland.
The international collaboration of VECTOR grew in parallel with the activities of International Science and Technology Center (ISTC). The Center submitted several project proposals to ISTC in 1994; and ISTC organized an international scientific seminar at VECTOR in the same year. At this seminar, experts from the USA, EC, and Russia discussed the scientific value of the projects proposed. The first agreements on implementing two of these projects, connected with vaccine development, were signed in 1995. Since that time, VECTOR has completed 15 ISTC-funded projects and is now implementing 24 projects (ISTC projects).
The concept of ISTC promotes development and strengthening of international collaboration, as it involves foreign partners into the projects, providing both better quality of the results obtained and new scientific contacts.
The positive role of ISTC is also in its support of the potential of high qualified staff. All the projects both completed and in progress, are connected with biomedical issues and aim to solve topical problems of prevention, diagnostics, and treatment of viral diseases.
Since 1997, SRC VB VECTOR collaborates with national laboratories with the US Department of Energy under the Industrial Partnership Program (IPP).
The IPP concept is based on a direct dialogue with US scientific and industrial partners. This Program implies a mutually beneficial collaboration, in particular, in manufacturing the products that are in demand first at the foreign market. Participation of VECTOR’s scientists in this Program allows their scientific developments to be turned into manufactured products and the commercial side of the research performed to be understood at a new level.
Collaboration of ISTC and IPP aids the transparency and realization of international proliferation prevention. Numerous contacts with ISTC representatives and foreign partners of ISTC projects suggested the idea of organizing the International Center on Emerging and Re-Emerging Infections at VECTOR’s facilities.
The international collaboration under ISTC and IPP projects demonstrated that VECTOR needs adoption of GLP and GMP, so that the products developed would be competitive. This would provide an easier obtaining of western investments and organization of joint plants for their production with the US party on terms of mutual benefit. VECTOR commenced collaboration with FDA and Southern Research Institute to introduce GLP and GMP. Training of VECTOR’s staff in GLP and GMP is planned under the program SABIT.