Biological E and GSK announce joint vaccine venture to support global polio eradication

GlaxoSmithKline and Biological E Limited announced an agreement on Monday to form a joint venture for the early-stage research and development of a six-in-one pediatric vaccine.

The partnership between GSK, a pharmaceutical and healthcare company, and Biological E, an Indian vaccines company, will reinforce the commitment of both companies to support the global polio eradication program of the World Health Organization.

"We are delighted to be working with Biological E, an established company in the global vaccine market," Christophe Weber, the president of GSK Vaccines, said. "This agreement is fully aligned to GSK's vision of providing high quality vaccines to those in need and by leveraging Biological E's strengths, this particular vaccine has the potential to play a significant role in the fight against polio."

If the vaccine is approved, it will combine GSK's injectable polio vaccine with Biological E's pentavalent vaccine for Haemophilus influenza type b, hepatitis B, whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria. The vaccine would lead to fewer injections, thereby improving immunization compliance.

"We are excited to be working with GSK, and this relationship is a validation of the investments we have made in vaccine technology and quality," Vijay Kumar Datla, the chairman of Biological E, said. "We expect to leverage this partnership to accelerate the development of the hexavalent vaccine and make IPV accessible for developing countries in the post eradication phase for polio. We hope to continue playing our part in support of the public health community."

The JV will bear the development costs for the vaccine candidate, which is expected to enter Phase I development in the next two years. The companies plan to split development costs equally after a small initial cash investment by both companies.

GSK and Biological E anticipate completion of the transaction in 2013 after several conditions are met and after the regulatory approval of the JV.