Vaccine giant Sanofi Pasteur has quietly pulled the plug on its Zika vaccine project, a move that underscores how difficult it may be at this stage to develop a vaccine against the virus. The company announced the move in a statement posted on its website… pointing to a decision by a federal funding body to scale back spending on Zika-related research.
The early testing suggested that from a technical point of view developing a Zika vaccine wouldn’t be difficult. But it was also clear from very early on that the big questions about Zika vaccine were would there be enough Zika activity to be able to run trials, and would sales prospects be sufficiently robust to convince companies to bring them to market. In an interview with STAT last November, Sanofi’s Heinrichs acknowledged the company knew a Zika vaccine wasn’t a profits slam-dunk. “That’s something we talk about a lot,’’ said Heinrichs, Sanofi’s associate vice president. “We have models that suggest there is no profitability for this vaccine, and we have models that suggest it could be profitable. Time will tell.”
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