Big Move by AmfAR: $100 Millions for An AIDS Cure

Recently, AmfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, announced a $100 million investment strategy in support of its Countdown to a Cure for AIDS initiative, including $20 million to create the amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research.

The Countdown to a Cure for AIDS initiative was launched in 2014 with the goal of finding a cure for AIDS by 2020. It has a four-pronged attack, addressing four key aspects of the AIDS crisis that may hold the secret to a cure: pinpointing where so-called reservoirs of persistent virus are located, determining how they are formed and persist, quantifying how much virus is in them, and eradicating the reservoirs from the body.

The new institute will be housed in a major academic research institution still TBD, and it’ll recruit a team of researchers to collaborate on all four issues across the research continuum, from basic science to clinical studies.

Meanwhile, amfAR plans to award grants to complement the budding institute. And they’re ambitious. The grants include $80 million in support of research teams worldwide, including innovation grants of up to $200,000 over two years to enable researchers to test innovative ideas supported by limited preliminary data; Impact grants of up to $2 million over four years to support the in-depth development of concepts already underpinned by preliminary data; and $1 million investment grants aimed at recruiting scientists from fields such as cancer, neuroscience, or inflammatory disease who can directly inform efforts to cure HIV. In addition, an opportunity fund will enable amfAR to respond quickly to emerging research opportunities.

"This represents the greatest expansion of amfAR's grantmaking in the thirty-year history of the foundation," said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. "We're very excited to be launching this strategy and establishing an institute dedicated exclusively to the pursuit of a cure for HIV. Concentrating the minds and the efforts of leading AIDS cure researchers under one roof will facilitate the rapid sharing of knowledge and ideas and create the kind of synergy needed to accelerate the search for a cure."