SK bioscience, an innovative vaccine and biotech company committed to promoting human health from prevention to cure, announced that the company has entered into a development licensing agreement with Hilleman Laboratories, a vaccines and biologics research and development organization committed to improving vaccine accessibility and affordability for low- and middle-income countries, for joint development of a second-generation Zaire Ebola virus vaccine.
Hilleman Laboratories and SK bioscience will collaborate on the development of an improved second-generation Zaire Ebola virus vaccine candidate with the goal of increasing production process productivity and improving product thermostability that would potentially help increase the global Ebola vaccine supply and help expand access.
SK bioscience will acquire unique expertise and know-how for use of rVSV (recombinant Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Vector) technology platform, in close collaboration with Hilleman Laboratories to potentially jointly develop other vaccines against a variety of viral infectious diseases.
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rapidly progressive, severe and transmissible hemorrhagic illness caused by infection with one of the Ebola Virus (EBOV) species. While there are six identified EBOV species, the Zaire Ebola virus strain has been the leading cause of outbreaks over the last 20 years. Ever since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976, there have been multiple outbreaks resulting in significant loss of lives (50% of mortality rate) and economic impact.
In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency during the Ebola outbreak and encouraged the development of the vaccine when the virus was spreading rapidly in West Africa.
Dr Raman Rao, CEO of Hilleman Laboratories said, “Developing vaccines that are more affordable and accessible is core to our mission at Hilleman Laboratories. Our collaboration with SK biosciences on such an impactful vaccine program will allow us to create positive outcomes for global public health, especially in affected regions of Central and Western Africa”.
Jaeyong Ahn, CEO of SK bioscience said, “Developing a vaccine to prevent viruses causing diseases with a high fatality rate, such as Ebola-Zaire, is an essential task for us to protect humanity. By cooperating with Hilleman Laboratories for a successful development of the second-generation Zaire Ebolavirus vaccine we will contribute to overcome the Ebola Zaire disease burden and expand our cooperation with global companies and institutions.”