Shantha to Develop Rotavirus Vaccine for Childhood Diarrhea

Shantha Biotechnics, in collaboration with the global nonprofit health organization PATH, is developing a multivalent vaccine against rotavirus with the technology licensed from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, June 26, 2007 /India PRwire/ -- Shantha Biotechnics, in collaboration with the global nonprofit health organization PATH, is developing a multivalent vaccine against rotavirus with the technology licensed from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Shantha and PATH are working in partnership to accelerate development of the new vaccine.

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe dehydrating diarrhea responsible for more than 527,000 deaths occurring annually in children under the age of 5 years, with majority of these in the developing countries. It is estimated that rotavirus infections account for around 26% of all diarrhea related hospitalizations in India with most of the cases of occurring during the first two years of life, the incidence peaking at 9-11 months of age.

“We are excited about working on the multivalent rotavirus vaccine, which has the potential to save many lives,” said Varaprasad Reddy, Managing Director of Shantha Biotech.

There are two licensed vaccines for rotavirus, RotaTeq® (Merck & Co., Inc.) and Rotatrix™ (GSK) but these are not currently available in India. PATH is working with Shantha Biotech and other emerging manufacturers to develop promising candidates into safe, effective & affordable vaccines.

“Because bringing new vaccines to market is a key component in improving affordability, PATH is pleased to be partnering with Shantha to develop the rotavirus vaccine to meet India and other countries’ needs,” commented Rajat Goyal, Director of PATH’s Advancing Rotavirus Vaccine Development project. Shantha was selected following a rigorous assessment of its technical and business merits, for its willingness and capacity to meet WHO vaccine standards.

Shantha plans to carry out the clinical trials following completion of preclinical toxicology studies and expects to start clinical trials in the year 2008.

Shantha Biotechnics Ltd is the leading research-oriented biotechnology company in India engaged in the development, production and marketing of human health-care products. It developed and commercialized India’s first recombinant Hepatitis-B vaccine and other combination vaccines with the DTP platform. Shantha’s vaccines (Shanvac-B and Shantetra, DTP-Hepatitis B) are WHO pre-qualified and are supplied in various countries in Asia-Pacific, Africa, CIS and Latin America by the international agencies like UNICEF and PAHO.

Notes to Editor

About Shantha Biotechnics

Shantha is the pioneer in India for modern biotech products for human healthcare and its r-DNA Hepatitis B vaccine, Shanvac-B and Shantetra (combination of DPT & Hep B) are pre-qualified by WHO, Geneva for supplying to UN agencies. Shantha aims to expand its current vaccines portfolio by launching combination vaccines and new generation vaccines produced indigenously at its WHO cGMP plant near Hyderabad. Shanvac-B is exported to more than 50 countries. Other novel products developed by Shantha include Shanferon [r-DNA Human Interferon Alpha 2b] and Shanpoietin [recombinant human Erythropoietin]. As part of its international development strategy Shantha Biotechnics has entered into a strategic alliance Merieux Alliance with an aim to create a global R&D hub for prophylactic vaccine research in India. In association with Shantha Biotechnics, the European company, which has a strong presence in preventive medicine, aims to develop a global strategy for managing the infectious diseases segment. To know more about Shantha Biotechnics visit our website – http://www.shanthabiotech.com

Media Contact for Shantha Biotechnics
Sheela, enRight Media Relations, 98498 09594

About PATH

PATH is an international, nonprofit organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions, enabling communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health. By collaborating with diverse public- and private-sector partners, PATH helps provide appropriate health technologies and vital strategies that change the way people think and act. In India, PATH has been working for over three decades now, and is currently focused on four broad areas of public health – development of high priority new health technologies; immunization; HIV and sexual reproductive health; and maternal and newborn health. PATH’s India country office is based in New Delhi supported through project offices in Mumbai, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Imphal, and Chennai, as well as partnership operations in Assam and Bihar.

For further information, please contact:
Dr Rajat Goyal, PATH, Tel: 91-11-26530080 (O) +919910108821 (Cell); Email: rajat@pathindia.org

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