Gates Foundation Awards $13 Million to Advance Access to Polio Vaccine

Gates Foundation Awards $13 Million to Advance Access to Polio Vaccine

Batavia Biosciences, a Dutch biopharmaceutical company, has announced a $13.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to manufacture clinical-grade inactivated polio vaccine (sIPV) using its newly developed low-cost polio vaccine manufacturing process. 

The process, which is marketed as HIP-IPVTM, is based on the NevoLine manufacturing technology developed by Univercells, a biologics company headquartered in Belgium. In 2016, the Gates Foundation awarded a $12 million grant to Batavia Biosciences and Univercells to develop a manufacturing platform that integrates continuous processing with high-process intensification to significantly reduce the footprint and costs of vaccine manufacturing. The consortium attained the program goals of delivering a trivalent sIPV for less than ยข30 per dose, enabling it to lower the cost of the current polio vaccine by at least a factor of five. 

After completing the pilot-phase process for sIPV, Batavia Biosciences will use the NevoLine system to manufacture clinical-grade sIPV bulks, which in turn will be supplied to developing country vaccine manufacturers to accelerate licensure of the low-cost vaccine. After a year of preparation, production is scheduled to start in 2020. 

"This manufacturing technology offers the potential to be truly transformational, enabling significant reductions in vaccine prices and lowering the barrier for vaccine manufacturers to construct new facilities," said Chris Yallop, chief operations and scientific officer at Batavia Biosciences, which also has facilities in Woburn, Massachusetts, and Hong Kong. "These are two important steps to avoid the estimated three million yearly deaths by vaccine-preventable diseases."