Hilleman Laboratories, a Delhi-based vaccine research joint venture between MSD and Wellcome Trust, has been awarded a set of global patents for its Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) with an aim to provide a safe and effective Cholera vaccine at a significantly lower cost than currently available in the market.

The OCV patents, assigned to Hilleman Laboratories, have been granted at various patent offices including the US, European Union, Australia, China, Canada and South Africa, the company said.

Hilleman Laboratories has partnered with Gotovax AB, a Sweden-based company as well as with Incepta Vaccine Ltd of Bangladesh, to develop the OCV.

We are pleased that our vaccines novelty and commercial application has been recognised and the patent has been assigned to us. We realise that there is an urgent need for effective and affordable Cholera vaccines both for use in Cholera outbreaks and in mass vaccination campaigns,” said Dr Davinder Gill, CEO, Hilleman Laboratories.

“Hilleman Laboratories is developing a simplified oral Cholera vaccine, ‘HILLCHOL’, that consists of a single, genetically engineered Hikojima strain which could replace three virulent O1 strains inactivated by two different methods used in currently licensed vaccines thereby reducing production costs, Dr Gill added.

Currently, there are three WHO pre-qualified Cholera vaccines which are complex and difficult to manufacture which makes them expensive. Hilleman Labs single strain vaccine with process and manufacturing optimization significantly reduces the cost of the vaccine production.

Currently, the Cholera vaccine HILLCHOL is undergoing human clinical trial phase I/II in collaboration with ICDDR, B and Incepta Vaccine Ltd in Bangladesh. The extensive animal immunogenicity and toxicology studies have been successfully completed. This low cost Cholera vaccine can be used to create a healthy stock pile to be used in epidemic situations, said Dr Tarun Sharma, Associate Director-R&D, Hilleman Laboratories.

The company is also developing a second generation travellers Cholera and ETEC vaccine which is under pre-clinical uation. This vaccine contains an additional component of recombinant Cholera toxin B, which confers quick protection and additionally provides cross protection against ETEC.

Hilleman Labs has filed a separate PCT patent application for the process and formulation of this second generation travellers Cholera and ETEC vaccine.

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