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Serum Institute of India and Intravacc to develop Bioneedles

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It is an innovative delivery system for vaccines

Serum Institute of India and Intravacc (part of the Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports) will jointly develop a novel delivery system for vaccines: Bioneedles. The Bioneedle, a tiny biodegradable mini implant, reportedly has the potential to transform vaccination campaigns, especially in low and middle-income countries. The parties will develop Bioneedles for vaccines against measles and rubella.

The Memorandum of Understanding confirming their collaboration was signed in the presence of Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation,Bruno Bruins, Dutch Minister for Medical Care and Sports,Hans de Boer,CEO, Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers VNO-NCW, and H.E Alphonsus Stoelinga, Ambassador of the Netherlands to India, during the Netherlands Trade Mission to India last week.

The signatories were Dr Suresh Jadhav, Executive Director, Serum Institute of India and Thijs Veerman, CEO, Intravacc.

“I am happy that this MoU was signed during The Netherlands Trade mission to India. The collaboration between SII and Intravacc is a good example of a cooperation in which companies from India and The Netherlands join forces to help improve health worldwide,” said Bruno Bruins, Minister for Medical Care of The Netherlands.

“Vaccines play a critical role in public health globally- and for Intravacc, India is a vital market for partnerships in vaccine development. This project could potentially mark a major step towards vastly improved access to vaccines, especially in low and middle-income countries. We are very happy to be involved in such an innovative project with our Indian partner,” Thijs Veerman, CEO, Intravacc says.

Bioneedles are composed of a starch-like polymer, a product that is naturally degraded by the human body. The Bioneedle is administered by an implantation under the skin with an applicator. The Bioneedle matrix will degrade after implantation, which enables the release of the freeze-dried vaccine. This reduces hazardous needle waste and results in a quick and pain-free delivery of the vaccine; it may even abolish the need for trained professionals to perform vaccinations – a huge benefit in developing countries where trained medical personnel is scarce. In addition, vaccines in Bioneedles are both freeze and heat stable and can be stored, transported and distributed outside any cold chain. Preclinical concepts of Bioneedles have been established with numerous vaccines, including tetanus, polio, influenza and hepatitis B. In all cases, Bioneedles filled with vaccine were able to induce potent systemic humoral immune responses against the respective antigen.

Intravacc will optimise the formulation of the vaccine and preparation of the Bioneedles and freeze-drying process; Serum Institute of India will supply the MR vaccine. Both parties will search for a partner, preferably from India, for developing a suitable applicator device to administer the Bioneedles.

Dr Suresh Jadhav, Executive Director, Serum Institute of India said, “With this project, we continue to build a sustainable, long-term partnership with Intravacc in our effort to manufacture affordable life-saving vaccines.”

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