Hilleman Laboratories, joint venture between Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) and the Wellcome Trust, on 29 April announced the initiation of Phase I/II clinical trial of its innovative heat-stable rotavirus vaccine against rotavirus disease. It also obtained regulatory clearance for its innovative oral cholera vaccine to conduct a Phase I/II clinical study against cholera. Both rotavirus and cholera vaccine candidates have been designed keeping in view the socioeconomic and demographic needs of developing nations.
The clinical trials for both the vaccine candidates will be conducted at Bangladesh-based International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research (ICDDR, B) under the supervision of Dr John David Clemens, Executive Director, ICDDR, B.
As high dependence on cold-chain for vaccine preservation remains a major gap in the delivery system for the Government of India, the heat-stable technology will offer longer stability to rotavirus vaccine in extreme climates. Additionally, affordable, safer and effective next-generational vaccines against cholera infection will also be available. Access to such high-impact vaccines will play a key role in the eradication of enteric diseases that are a leading cause of deaths in developing countries.
Hilleman Laboratories aims to support the government’s efforts of expanding coverage and reducing child mortality through such innovative vaccines.