Why Partnerships Are Crucial for Pushing Vaccine R&D Forward
Friday, April 8, 2016
Students in the Philippines began receiving doses of the world’s first dengue vaccine this week, as the country begins a public immunization program to inoculate 1 million children in 6,000 schools across the island nation.
Dengue, a mosquito-borne disease which causes severe flu-like symptoms, is particularly endemic in Asian countries. In response, the Philippines government has been quick to seize on the public health opportunity presented by the vaccine, developed and marketed by Sanofi Pasteur as dengvaxia.
However, the amount of time, money, and effort expended to develop Dengvaxia demonstrates the challenging cost calculus required to bring a new vaccine to market. Sanofi Pasteur spent 20 years working on dengvaxia, enrolling over 40,000 volunteers in 25 clinical studies. On top of this heavy investment burden, vaccines typically command lower prices than other drugs, making the commercial case for vaccine development less compelling for pharmaceutical companies. From a public health standpoint, however, vaccines are vital for large, at-risk populations.
This combination of need and challenging economics leads Dr. Jim Tartaglia, global vice president of new vaccine projects at Sanofi Pasteur, to believe novel partnerships between companies are vital to continue pushing R&D money into new disease areas.
- Health Care