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Sanofi Vaccines Unit Riding High on BARDA Zika Funding

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Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) boasts one of the world’s leading vaccine operations, with a strong portfolio comprising pediatric vaccines, influenza vaccines, adult and adolescent booster vaccines, meningitis vaccines, and travel and endemic vaccines. The company also enjoys a solid position in both the seasonal and pre-pandemic influenza vaccine markets.

Last month, the company’s Vaccines division, Sanofi Pasteur announced that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has agreed to grant $43.2 million for phase II development and manufacturing of Zika purified inactivated virus (ZPIV) vaccine.

In Jul 2016, Sanofi Pasteur entered into a co-development with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) for the Zika vaccine candidate. The BARDA funding is intended to be deployed for advancing the WRAIR’s ZPIV vaccine into development and manufacturing. Presently, the WRAIR and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are conducting a series of phase I studies on ZPIV.

The company has already developed vaccines for viruses in the same family as ZIKV, with approved vaccines targeting yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and dengue.

Sanofi received a huge boost with the approval of Dengvaxia as the first vaccine in the world for the prevention of dengue. Dengvaxia should benefit from the Apr 2016 recommendation of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) to the World Health Organization to use Dengvaxia in endemic countries.

Sanofi expects a significant ramp-up in vaccine sales over the next several years. The company has also beefed up its Chinese presence with a new vaccine manufacturing facility in Shenzhen.

With no approved vaccine or treatment for this mosquito-borne disease, companies like Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (INO - Free Report) and Intrexon Corporation (XON - Free Report) are also looking to develop Zika vaccines.

Earlier this month, Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN - Free Report) announced that detailed results from two placebo-controlled phase III studies – LIBERTY AD SOLO 1 and SOLO 2 – evaluating Dupixent (dupilumab) in adults with inadequately controlled moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD) were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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