Sanofi starts dengue vac­cine pro­duc­tion to keep lead over ri­vals

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS -

NEUVILLE- S UR- S AONE: Sanofi SA has started pro­duc­ing its ex­per­i­men­tal dengue vac­cine, the most ad­vanced against the dis­ease, to beat its com­peti­tors ahead of the prod­uct’s likely launch in 2015.

The mos­quito-borne dis­ease is a threat to nearly three bil­lion peo­ple and is caused by four types of virus, none of which con­fers im­mu­nity from the oth­ers. Sanofi’s vac­cine could gen­er­ate sales of over $1 bil­lion (R10 bil­lion).

Sanofi Pas­teur, which has been work­ing on the pro­ject for 20 years, has kick­started pro­duc­tion be­fore re­ceiv­ing au­tho­ri­sa­tion from reg­u­la­tors.

“It takes two years to pro­duce this vac­cine,” said An­thony Quin, who heads Sanofi Pas­teur’s man­u­fac­tur- ing site in France, where the group has in­vested € 300 mil­lion (R3.9 bil­lion).

Data re­leased last year from a test in Thai­land showed Sanofi’s vac­cine failed to pro­tect against one type of dengue virus, but con­firmed that a safe dengue vac­cine was pos­si­ble.

Mak­ing a mixed dengue vac­cine with four dif­fer­ent virus strains can pro­duce un­even re­sults. But Sanofi, has said it would wait for data from two late-stage tri­als to bet­ter un­der­stand the vac­cine. – Reuters

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