The Business of Global Health No. 13

Shan5 Hits the Market Sanofi Pasteur, Sanofi’s vaccine division, announced imminent sale of Shan5, a pentavalent vaccine against five common childhood illness developed and manufactured by Santha Biotechnic of India. Sanofi had purchased 80% of Santha in 2008 and has spent mightily to improve the vaccine’s production, earning the vaccine WHO prequalification status earlier this year and access to sales through the health programs of 50 developing world countries (FierceVaccines story). According to a Livemint.com report, Sanofi is expecting sales of about $100 million in the next five years in a market with two competitors (Livemint story).

Malaria Dx Contract Award Boulder, CO-based MBio announced receipt of a three-year development contract for a point-of-care malaria diagnostic for the US Army (MBio press release). Of note is that Mbio will collaborate with an Army medical research unit based in Kenya.

Euro-Cuban Deal The French biopharmaceutical start-up, ABIVAX, completed a product acquisition deal with the Finlay Institute of Cuba that provides ABIVAX with vaccines for typhoid, meningitis B/C, and leptospirosis (press release in FierceVaccines). ABIVAX obtained commercialization rights for much of Asia and Latin America and will find local partners for registration and sales while Findlay will be responsible for manufacturing. ABIVAX is unique in that it was formed in late 2013 from the conglomeration of three French biotechs with venture capital backing and “an exclusive partnership agreement” with the government-run Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ABIVAX press release). The product deal apparently is a consequence of this agreement and gives ABIVAX an opportunity for near-term revenue if it can attract quality in-country partners.

More Ebola Product Development With public concern as one stimulus (the hysteria seems less helpful) and philanthropy and profits as others, academic researchers and companies are pushing forward on possible products to address the outbreak. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin published results showing a single dose of an inhaled vaccine doubled the survival rate to a lethal injection of virus to 100% in a primate model (FierceVaccines story). Aethlon Medical Inc. of San Diego, CA, will begin clinical trials of its blood-filtering device after a German Ebola patient using the device and other therapies including anti-viral drugs survived (FierceMedicalDevices story). Fujifilm, the Japanese company that started a pharmaceutical division in 2010, said it expects to complete a trial of its already-approved influenza anti-viral drug, Avigan, by year’s end (Reuters story). The drug had been tried in four patients on an emergency basis and all survived. Also, the WHO recently announced that it was conducting a literature survey of 120 drugs that may have activity against Ebola and concluded that at least one drug, lamivudine, was not effective and should not be used (another Reuters story).

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