[Ip-health] Watch Out Big Pharma: PATH, WHO Show that Nonprofits Can Develop New Meningitis Vaccine
Biotech. Info. Inst.
biotech at biopharma.com
Fri Dec 10 09:54:06 PST 2010
PATH is referred to as a "little nonprofit"? However, PATH states:
"In a little more than a decade, our revenue has increased from less than $20 million to more than $250 million...In 2009, our total revenue was $256,592,000."
The development, manufacture and deployment of MenAfriVac is a major achievement for any organization, whether a country, company or nonprofit organization. PATH is definitely a major vaccine player and by no means should be called "little." In fact, is there any other organization, whether country, company or nonprofit, that is more of a major player than PATH in the development and deployment of vaccines in the international (vs. Western) markets?
Ronald A. Rader
Biotechnology Information Institute
1700 Rockville Pike, Suite 400
Rockville, MD 20852
E-mail: biotech at biopharma.com
Web sites: www.biopharma.com; www.bioinfo.com;
On Dec 9, 2010, at 1:36 AM, Joana Ramos wrote:
> Watch Out Big Pharma: PATH, WHO Show that Nonprofits Can Develop New Meningitis Vaccine
> Luke Timmerman 12/8/10
> Xconomy: Seattle
> Only a few giant corporations on the planet—companies like Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Sanofi-Aventis—are thought to have the money, the know-how, and the infrastructure to develop new vaccines that can make a really big impact on public health.
> So when a little nonprofit from Seattle called PATH is able to band together with some officials at the World Health Organization to develop a new vaccine against a deadly bug in Africa that the big guys weren’t interested in—that’s what we in the journalism business call a story. This is about going on a long and risky journey, persevering against long odds, to do something potentially really important.
> This week, PATH has been featured in the New York Times, the Seattle Times, and on the KPLU website for its work in developing a new vaccine for meningitis, called MenAfriVac. On Monday, people across Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger started getting their shots to protect them against this seasonal bug. I got a very absorbing perspective on this odyssey by talking with PATH president Chris Elias a couple weeks ago. He talked about what it takes to develop a vaccine that can protect people from this bacterial infection, at a cost of just 50 cents a dose. Much heavy lifting has been done, and much more is come, as the goal is to give this vaccine to at least 12 million kids and young adults this month....
> Feasible as it may have been, the big vaccine makers weren’t interested. They would have to convert their facilities from using other carrier proteins for their other vaccines—which would be a difficult process. PATH’s Elias, never one to cast a stone against his industry partners, described this exchange diplomatically. “They were making reasonable business decisions on opportunity cost,” Elias says.
> PATH and the WHO found a willing partner in the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest producer of measles and diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus vaccines. The Serum Institute, founded in 1966 according to its website, makes half of the vaccines that UNICEF purchases, Elias says. “They make high-volume, high-quality vaccines. They are making basic vaccines for kids in poor countries,” Elias says.
> So, true to form for PATH, partnerships were the key. It found one partner in the Netherlands—Synco Bio Partners—to make the essential polysaccharide ingredient for the meningitis A vaccine. The Serum Institute was asked to make the tetanus toxoid to make the vaccine more potent. Then the vaccine developers licensed a technology invented at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s labs in Bethesda, MD for conjugating vaccine components together. The story required lots of actors in Europe, India, and the U.S....
> Joana Ramos, MSW
> Cancer Resources& Advocacy
> Seattle WA USA
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