Sun Pharma and ICGEB to develop novel dengue vaccine

Sun Pharma and ICGEB signed an agreement to develop a vaccine targeted against all four serotypes of dengue virus


Sun Pharma and ICGEB had, in May, announced another partnership for development of a botanical drug treating dengue. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Sun Pharma and ICGEB had, in May, announced another partnership for development of a botanical drug treating dengue. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

New Delhi: Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) on Wednesday signed an agreement to develop a novel dengue vaccine targeted against all four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV).

Developed by ICGEB, the tetravalent dengue vaccine is based on a specifically designed recombinant virus-like particle (VLP) which contains host-receptor binding domains of all the four DENV serotypes.

According to the agreement, ICGEB will “disclose and make available to Sun Pharma all such existing ICGEB knowhow as well as effective completion of technology transfer by ICGEB to Sun Pharma within stipulated timeframe”. Sun Pharma, on the other hand, “will fund and support further development of the vaccine candidate and existing ICGEB know-how and patents.”

Prior to this, Sun Pharma and ICGEB had, in May, had announced another partnership over the development of a botanical drug for the treatment of dengue.

“Our new collaboration with ICGEB is part of our broader commitment for developing new an improved vaccines and drugs against flaviviruses that are of significant health importance in India and the rest of the world,” said Kirti Ganorkar, executive vice president and head, global business development, Sun Pharma.

ICGEB has conducted pre-clinical studies over the past seven years and developed the existing knowhow and patents for this dengue vaccine candidate, a statement from Sun Pharma added.

A joint development committee, comprising members of both the organisations will be established to provide oversight to the dengue vaccine development programme.

“Our pre-clinical data is very encouraging and this could be an ideal dengue vaccine candidate for all target populations,” said Dr Salunke, Director, ICGEB.

The vaccine would be called DS4, added Salunke.

Dengue, a viral disease where the mosquito is the carrier, is endemic to over a hundred countries and is a tremendous public health problem in developing countries. While four closely related dengue viruses (DENVs) cause this disease, a new fifth variant DENV-5 had been isolated in October 2013.

A preventive vaccine has been actively sought for quite some time now, with French drugmaker Sanofi’s vaccine the only one currently waiting to be introduced in the Indian market.

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