Hilleman Laboratories, a joint-venture partnership between MSD and Wellcome Trust, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 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.
Present at the press conference to announce the collaboration were Dr.Soumya Swaminathan, Director General of ICMR and Secretary, Department of Health Research – Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India; Dr Shanta Dutta, Director, NICED and Dr Davinder Gill, Chief Executive Officer, Hilleman Labs.
Addressing the press conference at the signing-in, Dr. Davinder Gill said, “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. 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.”
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan added by saying, “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.”
Dr. Shanta Dutta said, “Vaccines are the most simple, powerful and cost-effective health intervention and an effective public health tool. Our association with Hilleman Labs is in alignment with NICED’s mission to identify enteric infections, initiate appropriate multidisciplinary research and develop strategies for treatment, control and prevention of enteric infections. We look forward at this as a strong partnership aspiring to unlock new knowledge behind the enteric disease like shigellosis and to come up with appropriate and effective preventive tool against this disease.”