New Delhi: Hilleman Laboratories, a joint-venture partnership between MSD and Wellcome Trust, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), an ICMR organization for further development and commercialization of the Shigella vaccines and other enteric vaccines for diarrheal diseases. This agreement was signed as an effort of Hilleman’s mission to make affordable vaccines for the developing world population.
“Shigella is the second most fatal organism after Rotavirus that causes severe diarrhea in children with no approved vaccine available at this time. We are pleased at this opportunity to collaborate with NICED and jointly develop Shigella vaccine for a disease whose basic pathology is not yet properly understood. NICED comes with a variety of strengths in research and developing strategies for treatment, prevention and control of enteric infections,” mentioned Dr Davinder Gill in his comments, while addressing the press conference at the signing-in ceremony. He added, “This will also be a strategic shift for Hilleman, since till now, our focus has been to optimise existing vaccines and address the gaps in low resource settings. We will now endeavour to develop an entirely new line of treatment and we look forward to jointly abating this fatal disease which threatens the Nation’s health”.
The Director General of Indian Council for Medical Research, Dr Soumya Swaminathan commented: “This is a step in a new direction. India has immense potential in clinical research, drug and device manufacturing and we would like to see more of these types of partnerships to happen within the country to realize the ‘Make in India’ dream. We are keen that ICMR becomes more collaborative and partners with organizations in this direction and mutually expand capacities through cross-functional partnerships”.