Hilleman signs MoU with Bangladesh firms to develop oral cholera vaccine

Hilleman Laboratories, a joint venture of Merck and Wellcome Trust, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh-based icddr,b and Incepta Vaccine to develop an oral cholera vaccine.

The collaboration was established to fast track the clinical trials and product licensing, as well as commercialisation of the product.

Hilleman Laboratories CEO Davinder Gill said: “We are thrilled to partner with icddr,b and Incepta, two highly specialised entities headquartered in Dhaka.

“This collaboration will allow the three organisations to work together and bring forward a cheap effective cholera vaccine to meet the needs of the developing world.”

As part of the deal, Hilleman will provide its expertise, including the process, formulation and pre-clinical development, for the clinical trials of the vaccine candidate.

Expertise related to clinical development and studies of the vaccine candidate will be offered by icddr,b.

Incepta will extend its support to the programme for process development, scale-up and cGMP manufacturing for pre-clinical and clinical trials.

Executive director of icddr,b Dr John Clemens said: “Cholera is a major public health problem in several developing countries and we are excited for the opportunity to translate research into prevention.

“An important challenge is to understand the effectiveness of vaccines in resource poor, high-risk settings. For a variety of reasons, responses to oral vaccines in the developing world are often lower than those seen in industrialised countries.”

With an estimated 100,000-120,000 deaths and a morbidity of 3.8-4.4 million annual cases, cholera is endemic in more than 50 countries.