SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

International Medica Foundation sublicenses rotavirus vaccine for newborns

The International Medica Foundation, a Rochester, Minnesota-based nonprofit organization, announced on Thursday that it sublicensed the first rotavirus vaccine clinically tested for use in newborns to a Shanghai, China-based biotech firm.

Shanghai BravoBio Co., Ltd., will be the first company to develop a rotavirus vaccine for the Chinese market where the first dose will be administered orally to newborns. The agreement between International Medica Foundation and Shanghai BravoBio could help to bring a safer and more effective rotavirus vaccine to families in need throughout the world.

"We are excited about our sublicense for the world's first rotavirus vaccine for newborns and that it has superior attributes over the currently marketed rotavirus vaccines," Wu Ke, the president of BravoBio, said. "Once we obtain regulatory approval China will lead the world in providing early protection against diarrhea caused by rotavirus in young infants."

International Medica developed a rotavirus vaccine to overcome the shortcomings of currently marketed vaccines that do not protect very young infants. The vaccines also require expensive refrigeration, are costly and are associated with an increased risk of intussusception. International Medica's RRV-TV vaccine recently completed a successful Phase II clinical trial in Africa.

"We are very pleased that our vaccine is providing strong early protection to infants usually before the first dose of other rotavirus vaccines is even administered," Leonard Ruiz, the president of International Medica, said. "As recently reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases two early doses of our RRV-TV vaccine is comparable in efficacy to three doses of other rotavirus vaccines given later to older infants."

Rotavirus is a vaccine-preventable disease that causes approximately 329,000 hospitalizations and 4,900 deaths in infants and children in China each year.