Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Zika Vaccine: A Blockbuster Opportunity for Pharma Thanks to Tourists

Zika Vaccine: A Blockbuster Opportunity for Pharma Thanks to Tourists | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Though still years out, an effective Zika vaccine could beat a path to blockbuster sales, thanks to demand from travelers to endemic areas--which include some common tourist destinations. That's a key difference from the limited market prospects in other mosquito-borne diseases.

 

That blockbuster potential, plus an urgent medical need, has prompted a burst of R&D in the field, Reuters reports.

 

A Zika vaccine could reel in more than $1 billion in sales from “just a portion” of U.S. travelers, Inovio CEO J. Joseph Kim told the news service. And that's a conservative estimate, he said. Unlike residents of Zika-affected countries, who'd need vaccinations en masse, travelers would be able to pay a high price for protection, and thus are viewed as the most attractive market for a prospective shot.

 

Though other mosquito-borne diseases can lead to hospitalizations and death, the thousands of microcephaly cases caused by Zika have served to raise the alarm on the virus, quickly boosting vaccine development efforts.

 

So far, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Takeda and dozens of smaller companies and organizations have committed to Zika vaccine R&D. The National Institutes of Health and Inovio are in clinical trials with their candidates.

 

 

Pharma Guy's insight:

As Reuters notes, vaccines against malaria and West Nile virus--which have been around for decades--haven’t seen the same interest from pharma.

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Big #Pharma Reluctant to Develop Zika Vaccine Without Gov't Funding

Big #Pharma Reluctant to Develop Zika Vaccine Without Gov't Funding | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

What if a drugmaker spent billions of dollars to create a vaccine -- only to find out humans developed natural resistance to the disease before its product is ready?

 

That is part of the scenario GlaxoSmithKline Plc and other pharmaceutical giants are weighing in their cautious approach to developing a Zika vaccine.

 

Large portions of the populations in Zika-affected areas could develop immunity to the virus over the next five to 10 years, slowing its circulation into virgin areas, said Moncef Slaoui, chairman of London-based Glaxo’s vaccines division. That would make it harder to determine the market for a vaccine, which could be just stockpiled for outbreaks rather than used widely during national immunization campaigns.

 

So far, Sanofi is the only major pharmaceutical company forging ahead with Zika vaccine development. The French drugmaker will begin testing on animals this quarter, and plans to start tests in people next year.

 

“We have scientists, clinicians, toxicologists, epidemiologists that understand this family of viruses,” said Nicholas Jackson, who heads the Zika vaccine project for Sanofi. “This gives us a great opportunity to move quickly, and quick is needed here.”

 

While Glaxo, J&J and Merck are among the world’s pre-eminent developers and manufacturers of inoculations, they are absent from the list of companies that have shared details with the WHO on vaccine candidates.

 

Some manufacturers may be hesitant to enter the Zika vaccine race because of the uncertainty around public funding in the U.S. After the White House requested $1.9 billion, the Senate last week endorsed a $1.1 billion compromise package, and the House of Representatives passed a $622 million plan. The Obama administration, calling it “woefully inadequate,” has threatened to veto the legislation.

 

“This is not seen as a commercial market, at least for the time being,” said Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director-general at the WHO.

Pharma Guy's insight:

So much for pharma's vaulted investment in R&D to meet an urgent medical need! Also read: "When Does It Makes Economic Sense for #Pharma Industry to Develop Vaccines vs Drugs?"; http://sco.lt/7adpSb

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How Sanofi Pasteur & U.S. Gov't Collaborate to Develop Zika Vaccine

How Sanofi Pasteur & U.S. Gov't Collaborate to Develop Zika Vaccine | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Sanofi and its vaccines global business unit Sanofi Pasteur announced today a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) on the co-development of a Zika vaccine candidate. According to the terms of the agreement, WRAIR will transfer its Zika purified inactivated virus (ZPIV) vaccine technology to Sanofi Pasteur, opening the door for a broader collaboration with the U.S. government.

 

The agreement also includes Sanofi Pasteur's production of clinical material in compliance with current GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) to support phase II testing, optimization of the upstream process to improve production yields, and characterization of the vaccine product. Sanofi Pasteur will also create a clinical development and regulatory strategy.

 

WRAIR will share data related to the development of immunologic assays designed to measure neutralizing antibody responses following natural infection and vaccination with ZPIV, biologic samples generated during the performance of non-human primate studies, and biologic samples generated during the performance of human safety and immunogenicity studies using ZPIV. WRAIR, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) - part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) - part of the Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response - have been coordinating pre-clinical development of the candidate encouraged by new, pre-clinical research conducted by WRAIR and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center[1]. NIAID will sponsor a series of phase 1 ZPIV trials while the technology transfer process is occurring.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Also read: "When Does It Makes Economic Sense for #Pharma Industry to Develop Vaccines vs Drugs?"; http://sco.lt/7adpSb

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