Panacea Biotech, Serum collaborate on six-in-one vaccine

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 18, 2018

Vaccine maker Panacea Biotec has signed two long-term agreements with Serum Institute of India and its wholly-owned subsidiary Bilthovan Biologicals BV, involving a fully liquid six-in-one vaccine. Under the collaboration, Serum will be allowed to make and sell fully liquid Whole cell Pertussis (wP) and Salk-based Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) based Hexavalent vaccine (DTwP-HepB-Hib-IPV) developed and commercialised by Panacea Biotec, touted to be the first of its kind, a joint note said.

Serum will ensure supply of the IPV bulk to Panacea Biotec, an important constituent for the Hexavalent vaccine, from its wholly-owned subsidiary BBIO. A bioengineering and pharmaceuticals company registered in the Netherlands, BBIO has the technology to make the IPV, earlier possessed by only three other vaccine manufacturers in the world, the note explains.

Rajesh Jain, Panacea's Joint Managing Director, pointed out that millions of children in developing countries with an annual birth of about 121 million, will get easy access to the fully liquid Hexavalent vaccine containing six important antigens to protect against six diseases - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type B and Polio. Jain added, the only one of its kind, the fully liquid wP-IPV based hexavalent vaccine was made in India and would be marketed under the brandname EasySix. The Panacea stock was up about 7 per cent at Rs 274 at 11.40 am on Thursday, following the announcement on the BSE.

In the next two years, both vaccine companies will together get this wP-IPV-based Hexavalent Vaccine introduced in the government's National Immunisation Programme. Other developing countries are also on the radar through stakeholders, including governments, the World Health Organisation, the Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunisation (GAVI), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and other United Nation agencies, the note added.

WHO prequalified IPV is essential to successfully eradicating polio across the globe, an effort that has already cost $20 billion worldwide. GAVI has been supporting the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) since 2013, having allocated $430 million till 2018, with an additional donor pledge of $23 million for 2019. At present GAVI is evaluating IPV under the Vaccine Investment Strategy for the global public good, the note said.

Global demand of IPV/ IPV containing vaccines is estimated to rise significantly from about 100 million in 2020 till supply constraints remain, to 250-350 million doses every year starting 2022, depending upon a two or three dose schedule. The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunisation in April 2017 had recommended at least 2 doses of IPV in the routine immunisation schedule of countries post withdrawal of the oral polio vaccine.

There has been a global supply constraint of IPV since early 2015 and only 52 per cent of the projected supply was delivered to UN agencies, as a result of which 18 countries could not introduce IPV in their immunisation and 15 had interruptions out of 70 IPV eligible countries approved for GAVI support.

Adar C. Poonawalla, Serum Chief Executive and Executive Director, said the deal was “historic” since two Indian vaccine companies were collaborating to address the unmet needs of both the private and public market globally. With the convenience of ‘Six in one’, it has potential of over 250 million doses in about four years, with a market size of over $1.25 billion annually, he said.

Published on January 18, 2018

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