Sun Pharmaceuticals has entered the vaccines business with an antidote for all four serotypes of dengue.
The company will develop this vaccine on transfer by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology transferred of its patent. Sun Pharmaceuticals will tie up with manufacturing units to produce the vaccine because it does not have separate facilities for this purpose.
This is the second tie-up between the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and Sun Pharmaceuticals. Earlier this year, the two had collaborated to develop a pill for dengue. The partners said while the pill was meant to treat dengue, the vaccine would help prevent the disease.
The companies did not divulge how much investment had gone into developing the dengue vaccine and pill, which are in the primary stages of development, but said their prices would be affordable. The markets Sun Pharmaceuticals is targeting for the vaccine are the US, Europe and Japan.
According to the agreement, Sun Pharmaceuticals will fund and support further development of the vaccine candidate and existing patents of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, which will grant Sun Pharmaceuticals exclusive rights for development and commercialisation of the dengue vaccine globally.
Sun Pharmaceuticals, which invests over $300 million annually on research and development, will use its expertise as well as that of its associate company Artes Biotechnology, in development of the dengue vaccine. Artes Biotechnology will offer its proprietary know-how in production of vaccines from yeast production cell lines.
“Our collaboration with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology for developing an affordable dengue vaccine is part of our commitment to developing vaccines and drugs against flaviviruses that are of significant health importance to India and the rest of the world,” said Kirti Ganorkar, executive vice-president and head of global business development at Sun Pharmaceuticals.
Initial findings indicate the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology’s dengue vaccine candidate induces serotype-specific non-cross-reactive and neutralising antibodies without disease-enhancing concerns. These features differentiate it from other vaccine programmes.
“Despite recent approval of a dengue vaccine and several candidates being at advanced stage of clinical trials, the development of a safe, affordable and efficacious vaccine still faces major challenges,” said Dr Salunke, director of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.
“Our pre-clinical data is encouraging and this could be an ideal dengue vaccine candidate for all target populations,” he added.