Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Hilleman Laboratories advances two vaccines into clinical stage

  • Initiates clinical trials for heat-stable Rotavirus vaccine and next-generation Cholera vaccine
  • Aims to boost GAVI and Government of India’s universal immunization programs with heat-stable and affordable Rotavirus vaccine for improved coverage
  • In response to WHO’s global call for increased Cholera vaccine supply, advances on clinical development of innovative oral Cholera vaccine
New Delhi, 27th April 2016: Advancing closer to its vision of bridging the vaccination gap in developing nations, Hilleman Laboratories, a first-of-its-kind joint-venture between Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) and the Wellcome Trust, today announced the initiation of Phase I/II clinical trial of its innovative vaccine, an oral, lyophilized, heat-stable Rotavirus vaccine, against Rotavirus disease. After successful completion of the preclinical stage and obtaining regulatory clearance, Hilleman Laboratories has initiated a clinical study to establish proof-of-concept for its heat stable Rotavirus vaccine candidate.
Hilleman Laboratories also obtained regulatory clearance for its innovative oral Cholera vaccine to conduct a Phase I/II clinical study that is intended to lead to an affordable vaccine against devastating Cholera infection. 

Commenting on these developments, Dr. Davinder Gill, CEO, Hilleman Laboratories said, “These are exciting times at Hilleman Laboratories with several of our initiatives moving closer to meeting their objectives. There is a real need for safer and more effective vaccines to address the unmet needs of low-income nations. We have designed both Rotavirus and Cholera vaccine candidates keeping in view the socio-economic and demographic needs of developing nations. While on one hand, our heat-stable technology will offer longer stability to the Rotavirus vaccine in extreme climates, the next-generation oral Cholera vaccine will be affordable and easy-to-administer.”

Dr. Gerd Zettlmeissl, Chairman of Board of Directors, Hilleman Laboratories said, “I congratulate the entire team at the Hilleman Laboratories on achieving this significant milestone. These developments further strengthen my belief in our vision of saving millions of lives lost due to preventable diseases in low income settings.”  In light of the World Immunization Week themed ‘Close the Immunization Gap’ by WHO, the new developments gives a massive impetus to the company’s commitment towards realizing this goal.

The clinical trials for both the vaccine candidates will be conducted at Bangladesh-based International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research (ICDDR, B), an international health research organization. Dr. John David Clemens, Executive Director, ICDDR, B, who is spearheading the trials said, “Increasing access to high impact vaccines will be the key to eradicate enteric diseases that are a leading cause of deaths in developing countries. Since beginning our collaboration with Hilleman Laboratories, we have been closely monitoring the development of both the Rotavirus and Cholera vaccines. We are now thrilled to get an opportunity to translate research into preventable treatment.”

Lauding the Indian government’s efforts to reduce child mortality by including Rotavirus vaccines under the Universal Immunization Program, Dr. Gill added, “This is a welcome step taken by the Government of India. However, high dependence on cold-chain for vaccine preservation, is a major gap in the delivery system. With our heat-stable Rotavirus vaccine, we aim to further support the government’s efforts of expanding coverage and reducing child mortality.”

Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea and death among children less than 5 years of age, 90% of these deaths occur in developing countries. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare[1], nearly 80,000 to 100,000 children in India die due to Rotavirus diarrhea annually while nearly 900,000 children are admitted to hospitals with severe diarrhea. 

According to the World Health Organization, Cholera Vaccine production is low, with demands currently exceeding supply. Cholera is endemic in over 50 countries with estimated mortality of 100,000 - 120,000 deaths and a morbidity of 3.8 - 4.4 million annual cases attributed to this disease[2].

In 2014 Hilleman Laboratories partnered with Gotovax AB of Sweden and Incepta Vaccines of Bangladesh for the development of an affordable Cholera vaccine. “In less than two years, with the strong assistance of our partners, we have successfully advanced our Cholera program from signing our partnership agreement to initiating clinical trials. This only enforces our aim to contribute in enhancing the supply of a much-needed vaccine across the world,” added Dr. Gill.

About Hilleman Laboratories
Hilleman Laboratories is a first-of-its-kind joint-venture partnership formed between MSD a global research-driven pharmaceutical organization and Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to human and animal health by supporting the brightest minds. Hilleman Laboratories has been named after renowned scientist and father of modern vaccines Dr. Maurice Hilleman. His dedication to making a difference through the practical application of vaccine research and delivering vaccines to people in need forms the core mission of Hilleman Laboratories.

Hilleman Laboratories aims to become a global voice for vaccine development and access for public health in the developing world. For further information please visit:

About Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD)
For 125 years, MSD has been a global health care leader working to help the world be well. MSD is a tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit (for country-specific website).

About Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine. Our investment portfolio gives us the independence to support such transformative work as the sequencing and understanding of the human genome, research that established front-line drugs for malaria, and Wellcome Collection, our free venue for the incurably curious that explores medicine, life and art.

Media Contact:

Clayton Dsouza
+91 9930011602
Ann Marie De Souza
+91 9819099110

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Monday, 18 April 2016

Hilleman Laboratories welcomes Merck delegation team to India

It was a momentous occasion for Hilleman Laboratories to welcome the esteemed senior team members from Merck US & India.The aim of the visit was to acquaint the guests with the organisation and the team. In order to provide an enriching time for their guests, the team at Hilleman Laboratories successfully executed a well-planned visit covering all major highlights of the company.

The itinerary included a preview of the functionalities of a day in life at Hilleman Laboratories. This was followed by a detailed overview of Hilleman Laboratories which was presented by Dr. Davinder Gill, CEO, Hilleman Laboratories. Furthermore, the session highlighted key company achievements and strategies which aimed at achieving future growth for the company. The visit was finally concluded with company’s tour, led by team leaders handling ongoing projects. 

The delegates who visited the Hilleman Laboratories office included:
·         Patrick Bergstedt
Sr. V.P. Merck Vaccines, Global Marketing and International Commercial Vaccines
·         K. G. Ananthakrishnan
V.P. and Managing Director, MSD India
·         Juan C. Gil
Executive Director, Global Marketing, Vaccines International Commercial Operations
·         Dr. Joan O. Benson
Executive Director, Program Partnership, Merck Vaccines
·         Annapurna Das
Business Unit Director, Vaccines & Neighbouring Markets, MSD India
·         Jyotsna Ghoshal
Sr. Director, Corporate Affairs, MSD India
·         Sukriti Krishna Soni
Regional Marketing Lead, Vaccines Asia Pacific, MSD India

The visit was a great learning experience for us. In addition, it provided a great motivational boost for Hilleman Laboratoriesto carry on its mission to ensure health for all by delivering cost-effective vaccines.
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About Me

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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