Monday, 6 March 2017

Realizing The Potential of Public Private Partnerships in Developing Effective Vaccines For Disease-Endemic Countries



Immunization is the most cost effective tool for preventing death among children less than 5 years of age. Vaccines for leading global diseases - Diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infection and Tuberculosis are largely unavailable in developing countries. However, the overall cost for completely vaccinating a child has increased in the last 30 years. (WHO SEAR, 2010) Introducing vaccines in developing countries, carries its own set of limitations- cost, affordability and sustainability, cold chain, adverse effects, safety, short and long-term issues.

The advent in technology presents itself as a paradox. Equipped with a deeper understanding of the genomics and access to sophisticated research tools, science now has the potential to target diseases like never before. Despite the advances, critical gap between industrialized and developing countries remain. Although, Private sectors have capitalized new technological capabilities for creating new drugs and vaccinations aimed at chronic diseases affecting the industrialized countries, the same have not been exploited to treat infectious diseases plaguing the developing countries. A number of distinct factors make it difficult to attract the necessary investments in research and development of these diseases. Factors like low market returns, distribution challenges in developing countries and most importantly, lack of awareness of these diseases in developed countries. Unless diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) account for millions of deaths, threatening the economic stability of the nation, there are limited number of drugs and vaccines available to treat the diseases of the developing countries.

To address the critical gap, Public Private Partnership’s represent an important approach. The Public Health sector for example - WHO, UNICEF or any non-governmental organization offers its expertise and combines it with the private sector where financial resources and market experience aid in meeting the developing countries health needs while also fulfilling the corporate social and fiscal responsibility objective. Understanding the need for vaccine developments in disease endemic countries, Hilleman Laboratories took an innovative approach, by collaborating with National Institute of Enteric Diseases (NICED), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in Kolkata to develop a vaccine against Shigellosis, which cause severe diarrheal diseases.

“Hilleman Laboratories will lead the vaccine development efforts, and that’s really where our expertise is whereas NICED is a center of excellence monitoring diseases in India where they will be contributing to various aspects of clinical research, clinical & pre- clinical trials, regulatory submissions” says Dr. Davinder Gill, CEO, Hilleman Laboratories. The combined efforts between Hilleman labs and NICED, ICMR offering their expertise will bring this collaboration to a successful completion contributing the make in India initiative.

“India has immense potential in clinical research, drug and device manufacturing” says
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Director General, Institute of Medical Research.

The Public Private Partnerships offers several opportunities for Indian Pharma companies such as low cost of innovation, quality chemical capabilities where the cost of drug discovery is 80-90% cheaper as compare to other countries. In order to move past the significant barriers to give rise to more such partnerships, the government must create an environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, strong patent protection and predictable regulatory mechanisms.


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Hilleman Laboratories is a global vaccine research & development organization focused on making affordable vaccines using innovation to address gaps that exist in low resource settings. Hilleman Labs acts as a catalyst in bridging the gap between academic research and product development by targeting novel vaccines and increasing the efficiency of existing vaccines. Know More

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