39 – The role of technology transfer in sustainable access to vaccine innovation: conditions for success

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Why technology transfers for vaccines? Presenters stressed that by developing capacity in new markets, Technology Transfers can ensure development and availability of adapted and affordable technologies, sustainability, and benefit local economy through knowledge and labour market development

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Copyright GAVI/2011/Doune Porter

Why technology transfers for vaccines?  Presenters stressed that by developing capacity in new markets, Technology Transfers (TT) can ensure development and availability of adapted and affordable technologies, sustainability, and benefit local economy through knowledge and labour market development.

Are TT transfers the key to address the current imitation of tools, notably bulk, cold chain requirements, vaccine profile designed for  industrialized countries' disease epidemiology, needle injections, shortages of preferred vaccine presentations, limited numbers of suppliers and related price impact?  There was consensus that Tech Transfers would be important indeed. 

However, it was stressed that they are only one part of the vaccine innovation cycle.

Presenters repeatedly stressed that technology transfers are also very challenging: even in the Netherlands vaccine TT have failed.

Reliable supply of quality vaccines is the ultimate, but uncompromising goal. It was recognized that vaccine TT are more complex than drug TT as they are less dependent on Intellectual Property and much more on know-how.

Furthermore, TT require numerous enabling factors including political support as well as supportive labour and product markets.

Vaccine production needs to be relevant to local needs to be sustainable; but markets must be large enough and stable enough to encourage investments.

On the approach, only a stepwise approach has proven to be efficient. This often takes about  a decade, hence the requirement for long term commitments and substantial resources.

Most tech transfers have been for national use but efficiencies would rise through regional or international TT, which however requires WHO prequalify qualification.  This can lead to competition between the TT partners, a potential disincentive if it can become a threat to cost-recovery.

Success comes from early and transparent review of these issues by the potential TT partners.

MenAfriVac was presented as an example of a successful example of vaccine tech transfer, although it was noted that most tech transfers still only involve manufacturers in BRICS rather than low income countries, and only a handful of South-South transfers. 

This is slowly changing.

22 million

Over 22 million infants remain unimmunised in the world each year.

WHO/UNICEF

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