GSK-Biological E tie-up on Combination Vaccine

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Multinational drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline and the Hyderabad-based Biological E Limited have come together for early stage research and development of a six-in-one combination paediatric vaccine against polio and other infectious diseases.

The companies said they would form an equally-partnered venture to develop the vaccine that would help protect children in India and other developing countries. If approved, the vaccine could be a first of its kind, a GSK note said, as it would combine GSK’s injectable polio vaccine (IPV) and Biological E’s pentavalent vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (whole-cell pertussis), hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type b.

Fewer injections

The vaccine would enable fewer injections for children, thereby improving compliance in immunisation schedules. The fully liquid formulation of the vaccine also means it would be ready to use with no additional ingredients or materials required, freeing up space at local storage facilities.

The venture will bear the development costs for the candidate vaccine, which is expected to enter phase 1 development in the next two years. In phase 1 trials, the product is exposed for the first time to a small group of healthy human volunteers to evaluate the safety profile of the drug. A small initial cash investment will be made by both companies to cover start-up costs and subsequent development costs will be split equally, the note said.

Fight against polio

Christophe Weber, President of GSK Vaccines, said the agreement was aligned to GSK’s vision of providing quality vaccines to those in need and by leveraging Biological E’s strengths, this particular vaccine had the potential to play a significant role in the fight against polio.

Vijay Kumar Datla, Chairman Biological E, said that they expect to leverage the partnership to accelerate the development of the hexavalent vaccine and make IPV accessible for developing countries in the post-eradication phase for polio.



The Hindu Business Line , January 29, 2013