INDIA - Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL), an Indian government owned subsidiary of the National Dairy Development Board (NDRI), is planning to launch the world’s first pig vaccine for procine cysticercosis by December 2016.
The company has teamed up with Scotland-based GALVmed and the University of Melbourne to make the livestock vaccine at an commercial scale.
The disease, which is classified as a neglected tropical disease by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is a parasitic infection that can cause brain disorders like epilepsy or seizures in humans.
The disease spreads from pigs infected by tapeworm called Taenia solium to humans upon eating raw or undercooked pork and vice-versa to pigs in contact with human faeces. The vaccine works by eliminating the parasite’s ability to transmit.
Currently, the vaccine sold by Hoechst AG, a German vaccine maker at $0.21 (Rs 14) in the country makes it unaffordable to the majority of farmers, but this new vaccine will be sold for half the price and will reach more farmers which could not purchase it before, an official of IIL said.
The vaccine will be based on antigen TSOL-18, which was identified and tested on pigs with the help of researchers at the University of Melbourne.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 50 million human cases and about 50,000 deaths are reported every year, mainly in developing countries.
Now with a capacity to produce 360 million doses, IIL is the world’s top producer of FMD vaccine and supplies around 80 per cent of it for the control programme in India.
In addition to animal vaccines, the company also develops painkillers, antibiotics and deworming drugs for animals.
Based in Hyderabad since 1982, IIL was set up to indigenously develop and produce vaccine for highly infectious and fatal Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) from the technology obtained from the Wellcome Foundation, UK.
In 1999, the company entered human vaccine market and set up human biologicals institute (HBI) in Ooty, a division of ILL to produce human anti-rabies vaccine using cell factories instead of sheep brains, first of its kind technology for an India company at that time. It went on adding DPT, Tetanus and recombinant hepatitis-B vaccines into its portfolio.
Apart from this, IIL said the clinical trials for pentavalent vaccine, a paediatric 5-in-1 combination vaccine, that includes protection against diphtheria, tetanus, whole cell pertussis, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) has entered advanced clinical trial.
The vaccine is expected to hit the Indian market between October-December in 2016.
The company will be investing $23.36 million (Rs.150 crore) on phase-2 to produce pentavalent vaccine at Karkapatla in Medak district in Telangana. In phase-1 the company invested $23.36 million (Rs.150 crore) on expanding capacity of its Abhayrab vaccine.
During 201-15 fiscal year, ILL sales were recorded at $75.22 million (Rs.483 crore) and half of it comes from animal vaccines. Human vaccine contributes 35 per cent and the rest comes from animal nutrition.
The company said it plans to double its revenue in the next two to three years and expects high margin human vaccine sales to surpass low margin animal sales.
IIL is also working on developing chikungunya vaccine, with virus strain borrowed from the US Army.
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