The development of pre-pandemic influenza A H5N1 vaccines that confer both antigen-sparing and cross-clade protection are a high priority given the limited worldwide capacity for influenza vaccine production, and the antigenic and genetic heterogeneity of circulating H5N1 viruses. The inclusion of potent adjuvants in vaccine formulations may achieve both of these aims. Here we show that the addition of JVRS-100, an adjuvant consisting of cationic liposome-DNA complexes (CLDC) to a clade 1-derived H5N1 split vaccine induced significantly higher virus-specific antibody than unadjuvanted formulations, with a >30-fold dose-sparing effect and induction of increased antigen-specific CD4 + T-cell responses in mice. All mice that received one dose of adjuvanted vaccine and subsequent H5N1 viral challenges exhibited mild illness, lower lung viral titers, undetectable spleen and brain viral titers, and 100% survival after either homologous clade 1 or heterologous clade 2 H5N1 viral challenges, whereas unadjuvanted vaccine recipients showed significantly increased weight loss, viral titers, and mortality. The protective immunity induced by JVRS-100 adjuvanted H5N1 vaccine was shown to last for over one year without significant waning. Thus, JVRS-100 adjuvanted H5N1 vaccine elicited enhanced humoral and T-cell responses, dose-sparing, and cross-clade protection in mice. CLDC holds promise as an adjuvant for human pre-pandemic inactivated H5N1 vaccines. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.