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Published on 18 September 2009

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Global vaccine-research partnership

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A research partnership to develop affordable vaccines for poor third-world countries has been announced by drugmaker Merck and the Wellcome Trust charity.

The not-for-profit venture will also seek to improve existing vaccines by establishing lower-cost production methods and making versions that are stable at room temperature.

The latter would be of particular benefit, as most vaccines must be refrigerated. This severely limits their use in many of the tropical countries that would benefit most.

The $130 million (£79.5 million) seven-year budget will be funded equally by both organisations, with Merck retaining all licensing rights.

According to Merck spokeswoman Amy Rose, funding may also be provided by governments and charities, or investments and licensing fees from pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Health experts will advise on which vaccines to develop, she said, with the deadly Group A Streptococcus likely to be a priority.

Copyright Press Association 2009

Wellcome Trust



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