Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Oct 30 IBNS | 2 years ago

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi on Wednesday announced a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to explore and develop new platforms and methods intended to accelerate vaccine research and development (R and D) particularly in the areas of global health.

The announcement was made at the 'Grand Challenges in Global Health' meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during a session focused on affordable technologies for the developing world.

The conference initiated by the Gates Foundation was first held in 2003 to focus on persistent challenges in improving health and development in poor countries.

The Vaccine Discovery Partnership (VxDP) is a newly created, formal mechanism by which the Gates Foundation can directly collaborate with Sanofi Pasteur and other vaccine-pharmaceutical companies across disease areas of interest.

It provides an integrated, straight-forward and sustained relationship based on a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

"The MOU with the Gates Foundation facilitates our working together to de-risk novel concepts, technologies, platforms, and approaches of mutual interest," said John Shiver, PhD, Senior VP of R and D for Sanofi Pasteur.

"This program provides a mechanism to pursue R and D of new candidate vaccines for global health in the preclinical and clinical phases up to and including Phase IIa clinical trials," he said.

According to Shiver, the partnership allows the Gates Foundation and its pharmaceutical partners to accelerate the development of candidate vaccines for use in developing countries, while allowing the pharmaceutical partners to develop and test new technologies that also will advance their other R and D programs.

This VxDP spearheaded by the Gates Foundation is expected to result in decreased cost and time required to develop successful vaccines.

"Vaccines are one of the most powerful tools to save and improve lives," said Trevor Mundel, president of Global Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mundel added, "This partnership will help accelerate research and development of effective and affordable vaccines that will ultimately benefit the world's poorest people, and I'm pleased that Sanofi is contributing their expertise and resources."

Sanofi Pasteur has already been working with the Gates Foundation on other projects such as HIV vaccine development and distributing inactivated (as opposed to oral) polio vaccines globally to eradicate the disease.

"These challenging projects would be difficult for any one organization to fund without the Partnership," said Shiver.

"The Gates Foundation is committed to supporting these pilots while we will contribute matching resources and expertise, as well as commit to guaranteeing that advances will support those who need them most through global access provisions," he said.

(Posted on 30-10-2013)