GlaxoSmithKline Partners in Research to Make Vaccines Cheaper for African Babies
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has partnered with university researchers in Melbourne to develop a new manufacturing method to make vaccines cheaper for families in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world.
In the shadow of Mount Dandenong, staff at the British drug company’s Melbourne operations have applied blow-fill-seal technology – making plastic vials and then filling them with medicine – to oral vaccines, such as those used for polio, influenza and gastro.
The company dreamt up the method about five years ago but faced a big challenge: how to quickly insert the vaccine, which must be kept below 30 degrees celsius, into the plastic vials, which need to be heated to 160 degrees during their formation.
“It was a problem about how do we use blow-fill-seal technology and not kill the vaccine,” said GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) site technical lead Philip Leslie.
“At that’s when we worked with Monash University to understand how to do that.”
And what was the solution? Mr Leslie laughs and tells me my life might become shorter if he disclosed the secret.
Thankfully, he is joking.