Sanofi Pasteur says it is on track to start marketing a new vaccine to prevent mosquito-borne dengue fever by 2015.
Melanie Saville, Sanofi Pasteur's head of the Clinical Dengue Programme, told Reuters that clinical trials on the vaccine are proceeding on schedule and should deliver the data it needs in six years.
"Our priority is to license the vaccine in endemic countries, so we are looking at licensing the vaccine in countries in Asia and Latin America," Saville said. She went on to note that dengue, the world's second most common tropical disease, is caused by four different strains of the virus, which is presenting some difficult challenges for researchers. Reuters also notes that Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher told reporters last month that the vaccine could reap a billion dollars a year in sales.
Saville, though, is focused more on the data at this stage. "There is a clear unmet medical need," she says. "There is no vaccine available." Some 230 million people are infected each year with dengue.
Earlier this week researchers in Singapore announced that they were recruiting 1,200 volunteers to take part in global clinical trials of the dengue vaccine over the next six months. Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, among other Asian countries, have already joined the study.