Gates Foundation Awards $38 Million for Polio Vaccine Program

Gates Foundation Awards $38 Million for Polio Vaccine Program

Takeda Pharmaceutical in Osaka, Japan, has announced a $38 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of polio eradication efforts around the globe.

Takeda will use the grant to develop, license, and provide at least fifty million doses per year of Sabin-strain inactivated poliovirus vaccine (sIPV) at an affordable price to more than seventy developing countries that receive support from the GAVI Alliance. According to experts, in order to eradicate the disease — the last case of which could be seen as soon as this year — and make sure it does not reappear, developing countries need to switch from oral polio vaccine to injected IPV, Reuters reports.

Rajeev Venkayya, president of Takeda's vaccine business unit, told Reuters the grant would enable the firm to de-risk the investment needed to take sIPV though final-stage clinical trials, licensure, and bring it to market. "We're excited about this partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the potential to reach hundreds of millions of children around the globe as part of the final push to eradicate polio," Venkayya said in a statement.

"In 2016, the world is closer than ever to eradicating polio," said Chris Elias, president of global development at the Gates Foundation. "To eradicate polio, we need to ensure every last child is protected from the disease — this partnership will help to ensure that the world has enough vaccine to get the job done and maintain a polio-free world."