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Pharmaceuticals / Research and Development / Commercial Operations

Sanofi to Work With SK Chemical to Develop Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

March 20, 2014

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines wing of French drugmaker Sanofi, is partnering with South Korea’s SK Chemical to research, co-develop, produce and market an innovative pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, called a PCV. The global PCV market is worth some $4 billion, Sanofi says.

The collaboration will produce vaccines with more serotypes than the 10-, 13- and 23-serotype vaccines currently on the market, Sanofi spokeswoman Susan Watkins told Drug Daily Bulletin. More than 90 serotypes are currently known; these define the virulence factor and are among the first components detected by the immune system.

Under the terms of the companies’ agreement, Sanofi will provide SK with an upfront payment of $23 million, and, if the project is successful, the vaccine will be produced in An-dong, South Korea, at SK’s production facility, Watkins said. Once the vaccine receives registration, both companies will share the profits outside of South Korea.

Sanofi also has a PPrv pneumococcal vaccine development program. Since a PPrv is protein-based, it’s less expensive to make than a PCV, according to Watkins, and might be more appropriate for markets where infection is a bigger problem and where patients are harder to reach.

Sanofi currently has a 23-serotype vaccine given to adults, but the polysaccharide-protein conjugate PCV will be more effective in children, the drugmaker says. Eventually, however, the company plans to seek an adult indication for the PCV. — Lena Freund

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