Global Health Investment Fund Leads $7.5 Million Partnership to Boost Access to Low-Cost Oral Cholera Vaccine
Korean biopharmaceutical company commits to manufacture a new and improved presentation of the vaccine at a target price of $1.00 per dose for public sector buyers
The Global Health Investment Fund (“GHIF”), an innovative financing vehicle structured by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has launched a new partnership to support the final development and distribution of a new oral cholera vaccine for those who need it most. The vaccine, called Euvichol, is poised to become the second World Health Organization prequalified oral cholera vaccine suitable for use in the low- and middle-income countries where cholera still exacts an unacceptable toll on public health and economic productivity.
EuBiologics Co., Ltd. (“EuB”), a Korean biopharmaceutical company focused on delivering vaccine products and contract manufacturing services to improve global public health, has committed to manufacture a new and improved presentation of the vaccine at a target price of $1.00 per dose for public sector buyers. This is 45% lower than the minimum price currently offered to public sector purchasers, and EuB’s annual manufacturing capacity will be as much as five-times greater than the current global supply.
“Expanding the available supply of high-quality, low-cost oral cholera vaccine will play an important role in increasing vaccination coverage to include those most at risk,” said Glenn Rockman of the GHIF.
Plans are also in place for Euvichol to be sold in convenient, lightweight plastic tubes that are significantly easier to transport than the glass vial presentation that is currently in use.
The Euvichol financing represents an innovative collaboration among an international consortium of public, private and non-profit organizations. GHIF is investing in EuB alongside two traditional institutional investors in Seoul: the Korea-Seoul Life Science Fund and Korea Investment Partners. Collectively, the syndicate has committed 7.5 million USD to EuB to advance the Euvichol project.
“The Euvichol project illustrates what can be accomplished when investors collaborate with government and non-profit partners around a clear public health objective that can be carried out in a sustainable manner by a traditional for-profit company,” Rockman added. “The GHIF is pleased to be supporting the expanded availability of an important global health vaccine alongside experts at IVI and EuBiologics. Euvichol has great potential to help prevent and control future cholera outbreaks, and we expect its availability will advance the GHIF mission by saving lives in low-income communities around the world.”
Although cholera is a preventable, treatable bacterial infection, the disease causes an estimated 100,000 to 120,000 annual deaths. Approximately 3 to 5 million fall ill from cholera each year, and the incidence is estimated to be greatest in children younger than age 5. As recent cholera deaths in places like Ghana, the Philippines, Namibia, Haiti, Nepal, Cameroon, Nigeria and South Sudan continue to demonstrate, there is an urgent need to do more to protect vulnerable populations from this disease. Vaccination has an important role to play in the prevention and control of cholera in both endemic and epidemic settings, but historical use has been limited due to supply uncertainty and the cost of implementing cholera vaccination programs relative to the mortality of the disease. The current collaboration among the GHIF, IVI, EuBiologics and the company’s existing investors aims to change this.
“As a company focused on providing products and services specifically designed to improve global public health, we are thrilled to be adding the GHIF to our existing roster of investors and partners,” said Dr. Yeong Ok Baik, CEO of EuBiologics. “The capital and technical expertise secured by this transaction ensures that we will have the resources necessary to execute upon the Euvichol development plan and deliver this vaccine to the communities where it is needed most.”