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Wellcome Trust and Merck launch joint venture to develop affordable vaccines
Date:9/17/2009

y of innovation and contributions to global health which provide a perfect complement to the Wellcome Trust mission to improve health in the developing world."

"There is a critical need to develop new ways for scientific innovation to be translated effectively into new vaccines that can save lives and protect the health of people living in low-income countries," said Richard T. Clark, Chairman, President and CEO, Merck & Co., Inc. "We believe that success in bringing forward these new vaccines can be best achieved through productive partnerships. The Wellcome Trust's strong track record in global public health and biomedical research combined with Merck's expertise in the development and delivery of vaccines positions the Hilleman Laboratories to make a real and sustained difference."

Merck and the Wellcome Trust will invest equally in the R&D joint venture, which will be primed with a combined cash contribution of 90 million GBP (approximately 130 million USD) over the next seven years and will support a staff of approximately 60 researchers and developers. The venture will be based in India to facilitate engagement and partnership with a broad range of experts in vaccine research, policy and manufacturing to develop and mature its R&D pipeline.

The Hilleman Laboratories is designed to fill an important gap in how vaccines get developed. Many scientists from academia and government identify vaccine candidates potentially useful to developing countries, but then face significant technical challenges in designing suitable vaccine formulations, production processes and clinical programs. The Hilleman Laboratories will work to advance projects to 'proof of concept' by providing key expertise in product development and optimization that is typically available only within large vaccine companies. The Hilleman Laboratories will also work with vaccine manufacturers to ensure production can be scaled and that the vaccines are affordable.
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Contact: Katrina Nevin-Ridley
k.nevin-ridley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-8540
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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