Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (Nasdaq: SVA), Beijing, a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China, has submitted the application to commence clinical trials for its 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) to China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).
Sinovac initiated its PCV research program in 2008. The vaccine targets infants under two years old. The target population in China is estimated at 34 million. The market in China is currently served by only one internationally produced 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine with three-dose basic vaccination schedule, as no domestic manufacturer has been granted a license to manufacture PCV. According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) data as of November 2010, over 50 countries have included PCV into their national immunization programs, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Mexico. Due to the high prices of three PCV vaccines currently globally available, it is cost prohibitive for China and other emerging countries to incorporate this vaccine into their immunization programs. The World Health Organization concluded in March 2011 following an assessment in December 2010 that China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) has been shown to comply with international standards for vaccine regulation. This could eventually open the door for vaccines produced in China to be supplied through United Nations agencies to developing countries.
According to the website of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the foundation announced in January 2010 that it will commit $10 billion over the next 10 years to help research, develop and deliver vaccines for the world's poorest countries and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was identified as one of their top priority programs. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is helping create and implement the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for Pneumococcal Vaccines, which aims to stimulate the late-stage development and manufacture of suitable and affordable vaccines against pneumococcus for developing countries.
Dr. Weidong Yin, Chairman & CEO, commented, "The clinical trial application for PCV marks the significant progress we have made in advancing the research and development of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. During the pre-clinical studies, we made significant technical breakthroughs including establishing a seeds bank, developing the production process and testing methods, completing the production...