A vaccine technology that Watermark’s attorney, Dr Chris Vindurampulle helped to develop during his time as a researcher, is to be licensed to an Indian Biotech Co.
Vaccines function by ‘priming’ the human immune system and can result in the prevention of, or a reduction in, the effects of infection caused by many pathogens. Some vaccines are made from parts of pathogens whereas others are made from whole, live organisms which are attenuated such that they cannot cause disease. Live-oral vaccines are particularly advantageous in the world’s poorest countries where blood borne diseases are prevalent, trained medical professionals are in short supply, and the cost for maintaining cold-chain storage is prohibitive.
As part of Chris’ research at the Center for Vaccine Development (CVD), University of Maryland, Baltimore, Chris was involved in the development of a live-oral vaccine against Salmonella Paratyphi A. In recent years, multiply antibiotic resistant S. Paratyphi A have emerged in Asia, accompanied by increased incidences of paratyphoid fever in endemic populations and in travellers. Vaccines which prevent Typhoid fever are ineffective against S. Paratyphi A.
The S. Paratyphi A vaccine strain which Chris helped develop is the subject of a number of pending patent applications and granted patents (see here for example).
The CVD, as part of licensing and collaboration agreements with the Indian biotechnology company Bharat Biotech, recently announced the receipt of a USD$4 Million Strategic Translation Award from The Wellcome Trust to further develop the S. Paratyphi A vaccine. Given that vaccines, in general, represent less than 1% of global R&D investment, this partnership represents a significant milestone in the development of a vaccine which is primarily targeted at the world’s poorest countries.
This is a major achievement in Chris’ career and Watermark congratulates Chris on his outstanding achievement.