Drug major Sun Pharma on Wednesday announced a new collaboration with International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) for development of dengue vaccine targeted against all four serotypes of the virus. Sun Pharma will fund and support further development of the vaccine candidate and existing ICGEB knowhow and patents. ICGEB will grant Sun Pharma exclusive rights and licences for development and commercialisation of this vaccine globally. ICGEB will receive pre-defined royalty and milestone payments. "ICGEB has developed a tailored recombinant virus-like particle (VLP) based tetravalent dengue vaccine... ICGEB has conducted pre-clinical studies over the past seven years and developed the existing knowhow and patents for this dengue vaccine candidate.
This is the second collaboration between Sun Pharma and ICGEB focusing on dengue," Sun Pharma said. "The first one announced in May 2016 was related to the development of a botanical drug for treatment of dengue. The current collaboration is focussed on developing a novel, safe and effective vaccine for prevention of dengue." Sun Pharma said the initial findings of ICGEB's dengue vaccine indicate that the candidate induces serotype-specific non-cross-reactive and strongly neutralising antibodies without disease enhancing concerns. "These features of the candidate vaccine differentiate this vaccine development programme from other vaccine programmes that are developed or in development globally. This vaccine development will focus on suitability for all target population whether previously affected or non-affected, including paediatric and adults and traveller population," it added. Sun Pharma said a joint development committee, comprising members of both the organisations will be established to provide oversight to the dengue vaccine development programme. According to the agreement signed, ICGEB will disclose and make available to Sun Pharma all such existing ICGEB knowhow as well as effective completion of technology transfer by ICGEB to Sun Pharma within stipulated timeframe. Since ICGEB is not related to promoter / promoter group / group companies of Sun Pharma, this transaction does not fall under related party transaction, the company added.