Fred Hassan, chairman and CEO, said, "This project demonstrates Schering-Plough's strong commitment to innovation and to providing access to medicines. The avian influenza virus is already affecting several developing countries, making pandemic influenza vaccine preparedness a global health priority. Our collaboration with the WHO is most important because it is aimed at allowing many developing countries to gain access to proven influenza vaccine manufacturing platforms."
Under the agreement, which was signed recently at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Nobilon has granted WHO a non-exclusive license to develop, register, manufacture, use and sell seasonal and pandemic live, attenuated, influenza vaccines (LAIV), produced on embryonated chicken eggs. WHO will be permitted to grant a sub-license to vaccine manufacturers in developing countries working within the framework of the WHO Global Vaccine Action Plan. Vaccine manufacturers to whom a sub-license will be granted will be able to provide vaccines to the public sector of developing countries royalty-free.
Egg-based LAIV technology is specifically considered attractive for this purpose because the manufacturing technology process is easier to transfer, capital investment is lower and yields are higher, as compared to inactivated influenza vaccines.
The WHO Global Vaccine Action Plan seeks to expand influenza vaccine manufacturing capacity in developing countries and enhance the global supply for pandemic vaccines.
About Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)
Nobilon acquired in 2004 the majority of rights to develop, commercialize and manufacture the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccines (LAIV), both egg- and cell culture-based, from Australian company BioDiem, which had acquired these rights from the Institute of Experimental Medicine in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation. The LAIV may offer several improvements over current vaccines such as single-dose intranasal spray delivery, improved convenience and earlier and broader protection, which is of particular interest in a pandemic situation. Nobilon is developing a cell culture-based LAIV for seasonal influenza and is currently preparing for the 'first-in-human' study with LAIV for seasonal influenza.
About the World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization was founded in 1948. WHO is a public international organization consisting of 193 Member States, and a specialized agency of the United Nations. WHO is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work, and promotes technical cooperation for health, carries out programs to control and eradicate disease and strives to improve the quality of human life.
Nobilon International BV, a part of Schering-Plough Corporation, was founded in 2003 and was acquired through the Organon BioSciences acquisition in 2007. It has production and R&D facilities in Boxmeer and Oss, the Netherlands. The biotechnology company is dedicated to develop, produce and market human vaccines, building on existing expertise within Schering-Plough. Nobilon focuses on respiratory, traveler's and sexually transmitted infections. One of its core expertises is large-scale cell culture production of viruses, including influenza. For more information, go to the website www.nobilon.com.
Schering-Plough is an innovation-driven, science-centered global health care company. Through its own biopharmaceutical research and collaborations with partners, Schering-Plough creates therapies that help save and improve lives around the world. The company applies its research-and-development platform to human prescription, animal health and consumer health care products. Schering-Plough's vision is to Earn Trust, Every Day with the doctors, patients, customers and other stakeholders served by its colleagues around the world. The company is based in Kenilworth, N.J., and its website is www.schering-plough.com.