Updated on 28 November 2013
We have been assisting China's vaccine manufacturers in their effort to secure WHO Vaccine Pre qualification by holding workshops with ex-WHO experts and assisting individual manufacturers on their specific needs. Besides, Merck Millipore has several projects in research and development focused on addressing unmet needs of vaccine customers and improving overall process economics.
Elaborate on the vaccine initiatives by Merck for diseases prevalent in Asia.
Hepatitis, pneumonia, dengue, malaria, cholera, cervical cancer, influenza and many other infectious diseases are prevalent in Asia. During the most recent influenza pandemics, Asia received vaccines after the peak season of the disease was over. This situation led to a drive towards building in-country capacity for influenza vaccines. Pandemic response is one area where we are working with our vaccine customers to enable them to be well-prepared for such situations and enable them to quickly ramp-up capacity in timely manner.
How do you see Asia evolving as an innovative vaccine developer globally?
Asia's vaccine industry is in a phase when most of the innovation takes place in the Western countries and the Asia Pacific region follows them. Most of the Asian countries are currently in capacity building mode. Vaccine industry in Asia is rapidly evolving and growing at more than 20 percent per year, much faster than the industry average estimate of eight percent.
Currently, Asia contributes to a large portion of the global vaccine supply, but mostly for low cost, high volume traditional vaccines. It may be surprising that several of the leading low cost producers are also leaders in innovation. Successful development for HFMD (EV71) and the Hepatitis E vaccine in China or conjugated typhoid and rota vaccine in India are examples. These innovators argue that Asia needs to transit from low cost producer to a being a more balanced supplier of both low and high value vaccines.