Biological E announces Japanese encephalitis vaccine prequalified by WHO

Biological E, a Hyderabad, India-based biopharmaceutical company, and Valneva SE, a European biotechnology company, announced on Wednesday that their Japanese encephalitis vaccine is now prequalified for global use by the World Health Organization.

The prequalification for the use of the vaccine in adults is the first prequalification of a Japanese encephalitis vaccine. BioE and Valneva anticipate the pediatric indication of the vaccine will be prequalified by year's end.

In 2005, BioE and Valneva signed a partnership to develop and commercialize a Japanese encephalitis vaccine for endemic regions. The vaccine is marketed under the trade name of JEEV and is also known as IXIARO.

"We share the excitement for this great achievement and are pleased that our technology used for IXIARO which is (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and (European Medicines Agency) approved will now help introducing an excellent vaccine in countries of substantial needs," Thomas Lingelbach, Valneva's president and CEO, and Franck Grimaud, Valneva's president and chief business officer, said.

Japanese encephalitis is a disease caused by a flavivirus that affects membranes around the brain. Approximately one in 200 infections leads to severe disease characterized by rapid onset of high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, headache, seizures, spastic paralysis and death. The fatality rate can be as high as 60 percent among individuals with disease symptoms.