Austrian biotech group Intercell's Japanese encephalitis vaccine hit the market in India, where its partner Biological E. is handling sales and manufacturing of the product, Intercell announced Sept. 13. Intercell aims to win approval for the vaccines in other Asian countries, where Swiss drug giant Novartis will handle sales.
The vaccine, called Jeev in India and Ixiaro in other markets, works against the mosquito-borne illness that can cause fever, convulsions and comas. Japanese encephalitis is most prevalent in southeast Asia and the Far East, where tens of thousands of cases are reported annually. The launch in India marks a new milestone for Intercell's cell culture-derived technology, according to the company.
Intercell had expected to launch Jeev, its first product to hit the market, in the first half of this year. Biological E. is now expected to make initial shipments of the vaccine in the second half of September, Reuters reported. The product is already available to adults and members of the military in Europe, North America, Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel and Australia.
The company is expecting approval for other Asian territories through the World Health Organization. Novartis ($NVS), one of Intercell's major shareholders and partners, will handle marketing and distribution in those countries.
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