Vaccine Development Global Program

Live rotavirus vaccine development

Although manufacturers of existing rotavirus vaccines can meet demand over the next few years, new vaccines and suppliers will be essential to keeping pace with the global market as it continues to grow. In addition to increasing available supply, new vaccines mean more competition, which will help make all of the rotavirus vaccines on the market more affordable.

PATH is helping to advance the development of several promising new, live rotavirus vaccines that could prove both affordable and effective in the developing world. We are collaborating with emerging-country vaccine manufacturers on clinical development, formulation, process development, and manufacturing. We are also ensuring compliance with national and World Health Organization (WHO) regulations, streamlining the development process, and helping these vaccines to become licensed more quickly and meet international standards of quality.

116E vaccine candidate

Since 2001, we have been part of a collaborative effort to develop and evaluate the 116E rotavirus vaccine candidate (ROTAVAC®), supporting Bharat Biotech International, Ltd. in India to conduct initial development and early-stage clinical trials. This collaboration emerged from the Vaccine Action Program—a cooperative effort of the US and Indian governments—and drew on the seminal efforts of several leading experts in the rotavirus field, including Drs. M.K. Bhan, George Curlin, Roger Glass, and Harry Greenberg. In India, we drew on the expertise of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Indian Institute of Science, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the National Institute of Immunology, and the Society for Applied Studies (SAS). In the United States, we relied on experts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Stanford University.

DBT, Bharat Biotech, SAS, and PATH completed a Phase 3 efficacy study of ROTAVAC® in late 2013. The trial data showed the vaccine to have an excellent safety and efficacy profile, indicating that ROTAVAC® significantly reduced severe rotavirus diarrhea by more than half—56 percent during the first year of life, with protection continuing into the second year of life. This compares favorably with the efficacy of globally available rotavirus vaccines in low-resource countries. Moreover, ROTAVAC® also showed impact against severe diarrhea of any cause.

The Phase 3 efficacy trial was conducted with 6,799 infants at three sites in India: the Centre for Health Research and Development at SAS in New Delhi, Shirdi Sai Baba Rural Hospital at the King Edward Memorial Hospital Research Centre in Pune, and Christian Medical College in Vellore. Other organizations involved in the study included DBT’s Translational Health Science and Technology Institute and Quintiles.

With the completion of the Phase 3 trial, we assisted Bharat Biotech in preparing the Biologics License Application for ROTAVAC®, which was submitted to Indian regulatory authorities in July 2013. We are also collaborating with Bharat Biotech on submitting ROTAVAC® for WHO prequalification once licensure is granted, a key step in expanding access to more children.

Bovine-human reassortant vaccine candidates

The bovine-human reassortant vaccine (BRV), constructed by NIH, is designed to protect against the four most common rotavirus disease strains, as well as two that are largely present in Asia and Africa. The BRV is licensed to several manufacturers, mostly based in emerging countries, for further development.

PATH is working in partnership with Serum Institute of India, Ltd. (SIIL) to prepare for a Phase 3 efficacy trial of their oral BRV candidate, which is expected to launch in 2014. The multicenter trial, which will last three years, will be conducted with a total of 7,500 infants at up to six study sites across India. PATH and SIIL have already completed a range of activities to prepare for the Phase 3 trial, including identifying potential trial sites, conducting preparatory studies at several of the sites, and finalizing the manufacturing process and formulation of the vaccine.

In addition, PATH has been directly supporting China National Biotec Group’s Wuhan Institute of Biological Products since 2007 to prepare for initial clinical trials of their oral BRV candidate.

We also support the emerging-country manufacturers actively developing the BRV through a shared technology platform that provides a host of technologies, training, methodologies, and material. It is designed to meet common needs among the manufacturers, providing high-level expertise, minimizing cost, sharing knowledge, and ultimately accelerating the pace of development. Our work on the shared technology platform has included collaborations with the following groups:

  • American Type Culture Collection in Manassas, Virginia, provided the starting material cell banks (a qualified passage Vero cell line) that meet international standards as substrate for production of rotavirus vaccines.
  • Aridis Pharmaceuticals in San Jose, California, developed liquid and spray-dried formulations of the BRV that have been offered to manufacturers as options for their formulations.
  • Charles River Laboratories International, Inc., headquartered in Wilmington, Massachusetts, completed testing of banks and seeds of manufacturers.
  • Christian Medical College, Vellore in India prepared material and methods for the clinical assays and shared them with manufacturers.
  • IDT-Biologika in Germany evaluated two production processes for the BRV and made the data and know-how available to manufacturers.
  • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia produced, qualified, and shared assays and reagents for the titration and neutralization of the BRV.
  • NIH constructed the BRV, trained manufacturers in the titration of the vaccine, and continues to play an advisory role in the vaccine’s development.

Vaccine development portfolio snapshot

Snapshot of the rotavirus vaccine candidates and associated partners receiving support through PATH's advancing rotavirus vaccine development project.

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