Pharma's Zika Pursuit: All About The Profits?
This article was originally published in Scrip
When the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) developed an experimental West Nile virus vaccine, it struggled to find an industry partner to take the product through advanced development and to the marketplace, despite a great public health need, said the agency's director, Anthony Fauci.
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Takeda is officially in the ballgame, joining the ranks of other firms like Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline, to find a vaccine against the Zika virus after snagging a US government R&D contract worth up to $312m.
With new funding in hand, Moderna and its infectious disease venture Valera are going full-speed ahead with a Zika vaccine, taking an mRNA approach, which they said could be a more rapid strategy to try to stop the disease.
Allergan CEO Brent Saunders vows not to engage in price gouging and says his firm will limit cost increases to single-digit percentages, occurring only once per year. But it's unclear whether Saunders will stand as a lone wolf in the industry or if others will make similar pledges.