Hilleman Laboratories

Partnership objectives

Delivering vaccines for global health. Hilleman Laboratories is committed to developing high impact, affordable vaccines for people in developing countries in an innovative and sustainable manner.

 

The Hilleman Laboratories is based in India and is focused on bringing in innovation to act as a catalyst in bridging the gap between academia and product development. The Hilleman Laboratories is based in India and is focused on bringing in innovation to act as a catalyst in bridging the gap between academia and product development. Copyright Hilleman Laboratories

What are the health needs and challenges?

Many first-generation vaccines have not been developed with the specific needs of countries with poor infrastructure for vaccine delivery in mind. This is a much-needed exploration of how to tackle one of the greatest public health and logistics challenges in the developing world-distributing life-saving vaccines without the requirement for large bulk shipments, expensive warehousing and costly, difficult-to-maintain refrigerated shipping paths from the manufacturing plant to the patient.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

In September 2009, the Wellcome Trust and Merck* & Co., Inc. (known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada) created the MSD Welcome Trust Hilleman Laboratories, a research and development joint venture with a not-for-profit mission committed to developing high impact, affordable vaccines for people in developing countries in an innovative and sustainable manner.

The partners have strengths that are complementary in many ways. The Wellcome Trust brings exceptional public health expertise, in-depth policy understanding and experience in biomedical research to the partnership. MSD brings expertise in vaccine development and experience in working with a diverse range of stakeholders including international organizations, governments, nongovernmental organizations and philanthropic organizations.

The Hilleman Laboratories is based in India and is focused on bringing in innovation to act as a catalyst in bridging the gap between academia and product development, leveraging a cadre of talented scientists from around the globe. Their expertise in medical research is targeted towards creating new vaccines in areas of unmet needs as well as adapting existing vaccines for more effective delivery in low income countries.

Numerous barriers hamper access to live-saving vaccines for millions of people living in the developing world. First, the lack of commercial return has limited private sector investment in new solutions for diseases that predominantly affect low income countries. Secondly, many licensed vaccines available in the market today were developed and manufactured with industrialized world citizens in mind.

Hilleman Laboratories aims to create a novel immunization platform by employing modern technologies focusing on:

  • Thermostability
  • Ease-of-administration
  • Reduced footprint
  • Affordability

Over the long-term, Hilleman Laboratories seeks to collaborate, exchange ideas and build a meaningful dialogue and advocacy platform for vaccine discovery to ultimately strengthen public health systems and immunization programs in developing countries.

Summary of impact and forward looking information

Beginning in mid-2012, a new management team was put in place at Hilleman Laboratories (HL) led by industry veterans, Dr. Davinder Gill as CEO and Gerd Zettlmeissl as Chairman of the Board of Directors.  HL has sharpened its focus on translational research to advance development of vaccines against enteric diseases that disproportionately impact people living in developing countries in Asia and Africa. 

Consistent with this strategy, current research at HL is aimed at a major, unmet need for low income countries, namely developing a more thermostable, affordable rotavirus vaccine. Using innovative lyophilization and spray drying technologies, HL has made significant progress in developing new formulations of an optimized rotavirus vaccine with highly thermostable profiles that can better withstand the harsh conditions in developing countries. It will allow for greater temperature consistency and less reliance on exact storage timing and refrigeration.

In addition, the Hilleman Laboratories has also advanced partnership efforts to advance novel vaccine candidates for cholera and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) mediated infection, leading causes of diarrheal disease in impoverished settings. HL in collaboration with Gotovax AB aims to deliver a high impact Oral Cholera vaccine at a significantly more affordable price than the ones currently available in the market. Easy to administer, with cross protection against ETEC diarrhea and enhanced with a longer shelf life, this vaccine candidate will be most suited for geographies with the highest cholera burden like Africa and South Asia.

Finally, the Labs are exploring creative, low cost solutions for delivery and packaging, to simplify vaccine administration in the field.  To guide development, HL continues to obtain external input from the global health community through routine consultation with its Strategic Advisory Group and other stakeholders.

Partnership information

Company(ies) MSD

Partner(s) Wellcome Trust

Type of Partner(s) NGOs

Therapeutic Focus Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Women and Children's Health

Disease(s) Children's Health, Rotavirus

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Patient Safety & Medicines Quality, Availability of Treatment - Technology Transfer - Scientific Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing, Prevention Programs - Vaccines, Research & Development - Development of Treatments

Targeted Population(s) Children, People with low income, Youth

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 36

Country(ies) Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Tanzania, The Gambia, Togo, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Start Date 2009

More information Hilleman Labs

Anticipated completion date Ongoing