GSK, Biological E to form JV for developing polio drug

GSK, Biological E to form JV for developing polio drug New Delhi: Global drug major GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Hyderabad-based Biological E Ltd will set up a joint venture to develop a six-in-one vaccine for polio and other infectious diseases.

GSK and Biological E have inked a pact to form a 50:50 joint venture for the early stage research and development of a six-in-one combination vaccine to protect children in India and other developing countries from polio and other infectious diseases, the two companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

Completion of the transaction is expected in 2013, subject to several conditions including regulatory approval of the joint venture (JV), the statement added.

"If approved, the vaccine, which would combine GSK's injectable polio vaccine and Biological E's pentavalent vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (whole cell pertussis), hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenza type b, could be the first of its kind," the statement said.

The JV will bear the development costs for the candidate vaccine, which is expected to enter phase 1 development in the next two years, it added.

"A very small initial cash investment will be made by both companies to cover start-up costs for the JV and subsequent development costs will be split equally," it said.

The vaccine would enable fewer injections for children thereby improving compliance in immunisation schedules, the statement added.

Biological E Chairman Vijay Kumar Datla said that the company expects to leverage the partnership to accelerate the development of the hexavalent vaccine and make IPV accessible for developing countries in the post eradication phase for polio.

"The partnership reinforces the commitment of both companies to support the World Health Organisation's global polio eradication programme," the statement said.

PTI