Sanofi’s new flu vaccine to get EU review; malaria drug production launched

Hannah Blake

pharmaphorum

European authorities have accepted Sanofi’s decentralized marketing authorization application for review in the European Union countries for a quadrivalent (four-strain) formulation of Vaxigrip.

The current application is for the active immunization of children and adults from 9 years of age for the prevention of influenza disease caused by influenza virus subtypes A and B contained in the vaccine.

Licensed trivalent seasonal influenza vaccines are created every year based on recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO). These vaccines protect against three different flu viruses: two influenza A virus subtypes (H3N2 and H1N1) and one influenza B virus. However, for over a decade now, two distinct influenza B families have co-circulated making it difficult to predict which strain will predominate in a country in seasons to come. This is why pharma companies such as Sanofi and GSK have been developing quadrivalent influenza vaccines, which protect against all four viruses.

“The inclusion in the seasonal influenza vaccine of the four influenza viruses anticipated to circulate in the forthcoming season has the potential to reduce the risk of influenza disease and influenza related complications, specifically hospitalizations and deaths among those, at risk, who contract the disease.”

Olivier Charmeil, President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur.

Sanofi is a world leader in vaccines and produced more than 200 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine in 2012 and supplying an estimated 40 percent of the world influenza vaccine market.

In other news, Sanofi and PATH have launched large-scale production of a partially synthetic version of artemisinin, which is a chemical critical to making today`s front-line antimalarial drug. Global demand for artemisinin has increased since the WHO identified artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) as the most effective malaria treatment available.

“Taking lifesaving innovation to scale requires many things, but it begins with strong partnerships and keeping a close ear to what’s most needed on the ground. That’s why I’m extremely pleased we’ve partnered with Sanofi in the scale up of semisynthetic artemisinin, a key ingredient in the treatment for malaria. Promoting a steady and affordable supply of high-quality artemisinin is a critical part of PATH’s efforts to ultimately eradicate malaria and advance health equity. A life free from malaria is a life full of possibilities.”

Steve Davis, President and CEO of PATH.

Sanofi plans to produce 35 tons of artemisinin in 2013 and, on average, 50 to 60 tons per year by 2014, which corresponds to between 80 and 150 million ACT treatments.

This is a pivotal milestone in the fight against malaria, which affects about 300 million people every year and was responsible for more than 650,000 deaths in 2010.

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Related links:

Sanofi says authorities to assess new flu vaccine (Reuters)

Sanofi launches new antimalarial drug (Zee News)

Reference links:

Sanofi press releases

Sanofi and PATH announce the Launch of Large-scale Production of Semisynthetic Artemisinin against Malaria

Sanofi Pasteur’s New Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine Accepted for Review for European Approval

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