Seth Berkley recognises India’s growing role in vaccine science

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GAVI Chief Executive Officer visits Genome Valley, Indian pharmaceutical industry’s equivalent of Silicon Valley, to receive special award 

Seth India award

“Genome Valley Excellence Award” is handed to GAVI CEO Seth Berkley, MD.

Hyderabad, 9 February 2012 - GAVI CEO Seth Berkley, MD, praised India’s emergence as both a global vaccine supplier and a leader in vaccine science on Thursday, as he accepted a special award from the Federation of the Asian Biotech Association (FABA).

“India is a prime example of how the vaccine landscape has changed over the past 20 years,” said Dr. Berkley, receiving the “Genome Valley Excellence Award” in Hyderabad.

“Indian manufacturers can produce vaccines that meet high quality standards, are appropriate to specific country settings, and are offered at lower and sustainable prices through a reliable supply over time. They also have the capacity to engage in applied vaccine development.”

Biotech hub

India is a prime example of how the vaccine landscape has changed over the past 20 years.

Seth Berkley MD, GAVI Alliance Chief Executive Officer

Developed by the Andhra Pradesh regional government as a hub for over 100 biotech companies and spread across 600 square kilometres, Genome Valley is viewed as the Indian pharmaceutical equivalent of the computer industry’s Silicon Valley in the United States. A large proportion of GAVI vaccines suppliers in emerging countries are based in the Genome Valley.

Quality control

Given India's status as an international supplier of state of the art vaccines, Dr.Berkley emphasised the importance of maintaining quality control measures. "GAVI is not a regulatory body but we do expect the Indian Government and its National Regulatory Agency to set a stringent regulatory environment," he said, "The Government should keep quality as its top priority."

New vaccine explosion

Dr. Berkley paid tribute to the contribution of India’s biotech sector to the explosion in vaccine research and development and the number of new vaccines currently in the pipeline for a variety of diseases.

“Never before have we seen such a concentration of scientific innovations for vaccines in such a short period of time,” said Dr. Berkley.

“These vaccines are set to contribute to big declines in child mortality and morbidity to allow healthy children to meet their full potential which is what it is all about. We hope to see in the coming years a vaccine against malaria and hopefully not too far in the distant future against HIV, TB and, Dengue.”

New markets

Looking to the future, Dr. Berkley emphasised that Indian manufacturers should continue to seek new markets in countries where vaccines are already having a notable impact and could contribute to saving many more lives.

“I am excited at the prospect of seeing Indian manufacturers develop new combination vaccines as well as tackling new diseases that are especially relevant to those living in developing countries,” said Dr Berkley.

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