Novartis announces agreement with Biological E for fever vaccines

Novartis, a Basel, Switzerland-based healthcare solutions company, announced a development and licensing agreement on Monday with Biological E Limited, an India-based biopharmaceutical company, to deliver vaccines against typhoid and paratyphoid fevers.

Under the license, the Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health will transfer technology to BioE, which will have responsibility for manufacturing, further clinical development, approval and distribution of the Vi-CRM197 typhoid vaccine. The vaccine successfully achieved proof of concept in a Phase II trial.

"NVGH uses its innovative know-how to tackle important problems in public health," Don Ganem, the vice president and global head of infectious diseases at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, said. "BioE has a proven track record in vaccine manufacture, and capabilities to clinically develop and deliver (World Health Organization) pre-qualified affordable vaccines to the developing world. We are pleased to be working with them to address this unmet need."

NVGH is also developing a dual-acting vaccine against both typhoid and paratyphoid fevers with the support of the Wellcome Trust. In 2009, the Wellcome Trust awarded NVGH with a strategic award to support the development of the dual-acting vaccine.

"Typhoid and paratyphoid are major causes of life-threatening disease worldwide and with the emergence of resistance to all of the commonly used antibiotics, they are becoming increasingly difficult to treat," Ted Bianco, the acting director of the Wellcome Trust, said. "This licensing deal takes us a step closer to getting much-needed affordable vaccines into the communities that need them most."

According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 21 million cases of typhoid fever and five million cases of paratyphoid A fever worldwide each year, particularly in places without proper sanitation and access to clean water. Many victims are children under the age of two.