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Novavax, Bharat Biotech align for pandemic flu vaccine

Written by: Staff
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Hyderabad, Mar 6 (UNI) Targetting for a new molecule by 2006 end, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International (BBI) and Novavax, Inc today announced a strategic alliance to co-develop a pandemic influenza vaccine for India and other Asean markets.

Under the terms of the agreement, BBI will fund all pre-clinical and clinical development, work with Novavax on optimal manufacturing processes, and be responsible for the commercialisation of the vaccine. In return, Novavax will receive unrestricted access to all pre-clinical and clinical data, and a royalty on all sales.

Cases of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in poultry have been occurring throughout the world sporadically, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to call Avian Flue, the greatest concern to Human health. There are 16 HA (haemagluttinin) and 9 NA (neuraminidase) subtypes of influenza viruses which are known to infect poultry.

BBI Chairman and Managing Direactor Dr Krishna M Ella, told mediapersons here that the partnership would help India, develop a highly efficacious vaccine against pandemic flu and stand at the forefront in developing a prophylaxis against the much dreaded pandemic.

In its bid for a modest contribution to the cause of Public Health in India and the developing world, the company, he said was in ''active dialogue'' with 'WHO' for development of an affordable'' vaccine awaiting approval from Government of India to start possible pre-clinical trials over the next five months.

Quoting an ADB estimate, he said the loss from pandemic flue could be between 99.2 billion dollars to 282.7 billion dollars in Asia and the World Bank had identified bird flu as a ''large shadow'' that could harm growth in some parts of the world.

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