LONDON, March 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- GSK (NYSE: GSK) has become one of the first manufacturers to sign a unique agreement with the GAVI Alliance (GAVI) that has the potential to save millions of children from dying in the world's poorest countries. GSK will supply up to 300 million doses of its vaccine Synflorix, for invasive pneumococcal disease, to GAVI over a ten year period. Pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of death in children under the age of five in developing countries.(i)
The agreement is funded by a ground-breaking mechanism called an Advance Market Commitment (AMC) and is the result of years of planning by GAVI, UNICEF, the World Bank and major donors, who recognised the potential of vaccines to prevent diseases in developing countries. The mechanism is backed by the G8 and was officially launched by the AMC partners and donors on 12 June 2009.
Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline said: "The coalition that has made this possible is providing new means to transform global public health. The AMC is precisely the sort of innovative model needed to accelerate access to vaccines for people living in the poorest countries. The typical 15-20 year 'vaccine gap' between access in developed countries versus the world's poorest countries is unacceptable. This AMC means children in Africa will start to receive Synflorix this year."
The agreement for supply of pneumococcal vaccines has been financed by GAVI, five donor countries – the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Norway and Italy – and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.(ii) By guaranteeing the availability of initial purchase funds, the AMC enables vaccine makers to invest in development and manufacturing capacity. In addition, by contracting significant volumes over the long-term, manufacturers can significantly reduce the cost of their vaccines. Pneumococcal vaccines will be supplied at an approximate reduction of 90% of the cost in developed markets.(iii) Over the ten year period of the agreement, GSK will supply up to 300 million doses of its pneumococcal vaccine, valued at approximately US$1.3 billion.
Jean Stephenne, Chairman and President of GSK Biologicals said: "Today's announcement is a vital step forward for public health in developing countries. A pneumococcal vaccine can mean the difference between life and death, as pneumococcal disease kills nearly one million children each year(iv) and sickens millions more with severe respiratory illnesses(v). We are making good progress to rapidly increase our capacity to supply these new contracted volumes of our vaccine, with the first doses expected to be available in Africa in 2010."
Orin Levine, Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center said: "I applaud the groundbreaking partnership of vaccine manufacturers, developing country governments, donors, the World Bank, and the GAVI Alliance that has made the most advanced pneumococcal vaccines available to the world's neediest children at steeply discounted prices and faster than ever before. This year, the Advance Market Commitment will begin saving lives and improving the health of African children and families."
Notes to editors
GlaxoSmithKline -- one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies -- is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information, please visit www.gsk.com .
(i) GAVI Alliance (2009). Pneumococcal AMC: Frequently asked questions. Accessed 16 March 2010 from: http://www.vaccineamc.org/files/FAQs2009.pdf
(ii) GAVI Alliance (2009). AMC Fact Sheet: An innovative way to make vaccines available for children. Accessed 16 March 2010 from: http://www.vaccineamc.org/files/AMC_FactSheet2009.pdf
(iii) GAVI Alliance (2009). AMC Fact Sheet: An innovative way to make vaccines available for children. Accessed 16 March 2010 from: http://www.vaccineamc.org/files/AMC_FactSheet2009.pdf
(iv) GAVI Alliance (2007). The Pneumococcal AMC: Ready to save lives. Accessed 16 March 2010 from: http://www.vaccineamc.org/pneu_amc.html
(v) O'Brien, K et al. The Lancet. Burden of disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae in children younger than 5 years: global estimates. Vol 374; 9693, Pages 893 – 902. 12 September 2009. Accessed 16 March 2010 from: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)61204-6/fulltext?_eventId=login#tbl2
(vi) World Health Organization (2010). United Nations prequalified vaccines: WHO list of vaccines for purchase by UN agencies as of February 2010. Accessed 16 March 2010 from: http://www.who.int/immunization_standards/vaccine_quality/pq_suppliers/en/
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