Opendra "Bill" Narayan, 71, an HIV/AIDS researcher who was developing a vaccine aimed at helping poor people around the world fight the virus, has died.
Mr. Narayan, a senior faculty member of the University of Kansas Medical Center, died Monday of a heart attack.
He gained prominence more than a decade ago after developing a form of HIV that caused a disease in monkeys that was similar to AIDS in humans. He used his animal model to test vaccines and received nearly $50 million in grants, including more than $16 million from the National Institutes of Health, for research at the KU medical center.
He helped found Lenexa-based ImmunoGenetix to bring his AIDS vaccine to market. President James Laufenberg said the company was working on an application to the Food and Drug Administration for permission to test the vaccine on a small number of people, and hoped to begin clinical trials within two years.
Mr. Narayan's vaccines were not intended to prevent people from becoming infected, but he had demonstrated that vaccinated monkeys did not become ill after being infected with the simian version of HIV.
He was looking for an easy-to-administer vaccine that could help people in less-developed countries who could not afford expensive drugs.