Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute and the Institut Pasteur to Develop a Novel Vaccine Against Shigella

Press release

The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (Gates MRI) and the Institut Pasteur have entered into an exclusive collaboration and license agreement to jointly develop a quadrivalent synthetic carbohydrate-based conjugate vaccine against Shigella flexneri serotypes 2a, 3a, and 6 and Shigella sonnei. Gates MRI will have an exclusive license for manufacture and commercialization of the vaccine in 73 GAVI low-income countries, thereby furthering Gates MRI’s mission of preventing or mitigating infections caused by Shigella. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Shigella is the second leading cause of diarrheal disease mortality in children globally behind rotavirus and is also associated with poor growth and stunting, leading to a lifelong burden of morbidity. Global public health leaders have therefore placed a high priority on the development of an effective Shigella vaccine.  A variety of oral and parenteral vaccines have progressed into clinical development but have not yet demonstrated the requisite immunogenicity or level of protection in young children living in low- and middle-income countries. As with many infectious diseases, Shigella is gaining resistance to commonly-used antibiotics, including third generation cephalosporins, nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin.

We are well-positioned to advance the Institut Pasteur’s quadrivalent Shigella program,” said Penny M. Heaton, M.D., CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute. “We have assembled expertise in quality assurance, pharmacovigilance, clinical and regulatory affairs; we have developed biomarker endpoint validation strategies; and we have proficiency to manage and control complex manufacturing processes - all of which are the mainstay of vaccine development programs. As a pediatrician, it is heartening to be able to accelerate the development of Institut Pasteur vaccines that may substantially benefit the most vulnerable children in low- and middle-income settings.

It is so satisfying to see the fruits of our basic research translate into global health interventions.  Thanks to the collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, we are confident that our vaccine will make a big impact” stated Professor Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur.

About Shigella

An estimated one hundred eighty-eight million cases of Shigella diarrhea or dysentery occur annually worldwide, with approximately 164,000 associated deaths occurring mostly in infants and young children. Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella(1). Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Some people who are infected may have no symptoms at all but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others. The spread of Shigella can be stopped by frequent and careful handwashing with soap and taking other hygiene measures. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases (DFWED)

About the Institut Pasteur and the Institut Pasteur International Network

The Institut Pasteur, a non-profit foundation with recognized charitable status established by Louis Pasteur in 1887, is today an internationally renowned center for biomedical research with a network of 32 institutes worldwide. In the pursuit of its mission to prevent and control diseases in France and throughout the world, the Institut Pasteur operates in four main areas: research, public health, education and training, and development of research applications.
A globally recognized leader in infectious diseases, microbiology, and immunology, the institute also investigates cancer, genetic and neurodegenerative diseases, genomics and developmental biology. Its research aims to expand knowledge of the living world in a bid to lay the foundations for new prevention strategies and novel therapeutics. Since its inception, ten Institut Pasteur scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, including two in 2008 for the 1983 discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.

Research on Shigella at the Institut Pasteur

Over the last two decades, the Molecular Microbial Pathogenesis Unit and the Chemistry of Biomolecules Unit at the Institut Pasteur have combined their expertise on Shigella pathogenesis and conjugate vaccines, respectively, to better understand the pathogenesis of Shigella infection and prevent this disease by implementing an innovative glycochemistry-based strategy toward a Shigella vaccine.

About Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute

The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute is a non-profit biotech organization focused on medical research to accelerate product development for diseases and disorders that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest populations-- malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhea and maternal and newborn child health disorders—conditions that combined cause ten deaths every minute.

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