Merck helps fund new, $150M non-profit vax developer

The Wellcome Trust in the U.K. and pharma giant Merck are joining forces to fund a $150 million non-profit vaccine developer to be based in India. The new joint venture will focus on developing inexpensive jabs for use in developing countries. And researchers will pursue a special focus on high-risk vaccine programs for neglected diseases.

"The center will bring the scientific and technical skills of an extremely advanced vaccine company like Merck to bear," says Marie-Paule Kieny, vaccine-research director at the World Health Organization. It will also operate as an independent outfit, able to ink development pacts with other companies, researchers in academia, philanthropies and government agencies. 

For now, the backers are concentrating on finding a site in India for the new company. Once in operation, the researchers will also be free to focus on near-term opportunities, such as improving existing vaccines.

- here's the release
- read the report from Nature