Hyderabad: Hilleman Laboratories Ltd on Wednesday said it had started phase I/II clinical trials of its rotavirus vaccine candidate. It has also obtained clearance for phase I/II clinical studies on an innovative oral cholera vaccine.

The clinical trials for both will be conducted at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR) in Bangladesh.

“While on one hand, our heat-stable technology will offer longer stability to the rotavirus vaccine in extreme climates, the next-generation oral cholera vaccine will be affordable and easy to administer," said Davinder Gill, chief executive officer, Hilleman Laboratories. Hilleman is a joint venture between Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) and Wellcome Trust.

Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age; 90% of these deaths occur in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization, cholera vaccine production is low, with demand exceeding supply.

“Since beginning our collaboration with Hilleman Laboratories, we have been closely monitoring the development of both the rotavirus and cholera vaccines. We are now thrilled to get an opportunity to translate research into preventable treatment," John David Clemens, executive director, ICDDR, said.