New Broad-Spectrum Vaccine Protects Against Most Pneumococcal Disease

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Austria , Southeast Asia , Sub-Saharan Africa , Topic: Discovery/Development , West Africa

[Note: This case study was originally published in 2009. Download a PDF or read the case study here.]

Pneumococcal disease kills approximately 1.6 million people every year, with more than half of these deaths occurring to children less than five years old. The variances in strains are compounding the problem. A pneumococcal vaccine that is affordable and offers broad serotype independent protection for use in children in the developing world is urgently needed. To advance such a vaccine, PATH — a U.S.-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to create sustainable, culturally relevant solutions that enable communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health — and the Austrian biotechnology firm, Intercell AG, are partnering on a recombinant protein-based pneumococcal vaccine. The partnership aligns the goals of each organization: Intercell’s pursuit of a vaccine for the elderly in the industrialized world and PATH’s goal of an affordable vaccine for infants and children in the developing world. 

Lessons Learned:

  • Building a committee that emphasizes the collaborative nature of the development work provides focused expertise when implementing complex projects.
  • Frequent, timely communication is a critical aspect of a successful partnership’s information sharing.
  • A for-profit product can be developed alongside a nonprofit product when similar goals exist.
  • People in resource-rich countries often benefit from technological advancements designed to aid people in developing countries.


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