GAVI, Biological Evans in pact to lower cost of pentavalent vaccine

Public-private global health partnership GAVI Alliance (formerly Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) has entered into a sourcing arrangement with Hyderbad-based Biological Evans Ltd for five-in-one injections.

The Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists

Biological Evans was formed through an alliance between the DVK Raju-founded Biological E, formed in 1953, and Evans Medical (UK). The company is now wholly Indian-owned and has alliances with Solvay and CIE (Belgium), Aventis, Glaxo - India and Mckinsey

The arrangement, says GAVI, could drastically reduce the cost of immunising millions of the world's most vulnerable children against five deadly and debilitating diseases.

''A supply agreement with Biological E Ltd of India makes five-in-one shot (pentavalent vaccine) available to GAVI for just $1.19 per dose, compared to the 2012 weighted average price of $2.17,'' GAVI Alliance said in a web site release.

''Immunisation is undoubtedly one of the best buys in global health and GAVI is one of the most effective ways of achieving Millennium Development Goal Four,'' says GAVI.

GAVI said the vaccine deal with Biological Evans will help it save up to $150 million over a four-year period, compared with lowest cost alternative supplies.

''This is great news for children in the world's poorest countries and it shows that our innovative public-private partnership model is working well,'' Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, said.

Pentavalent vaccine, which combines antigens for five infectious diseases, namely diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), is in great demand across the world.

''This partnership demonstrates the growing role of developing world manufacturers in the sustainable supply of effective, affordable vaccines,'' Mahima Datla, managing director, Biological Evans, said.

Commenting on the agreement Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates said: ''More affordable vaccines help us save and protect more children.''

GAVI was created in 2000 to promote new vaccines to immunise children against diseases across the world by providing better access to vaccines and at affordable prices.

Itworks to harmonise the efforts of donors, developing countries and aid agencies to support global health and development initiatives.