The Wistar Institute and Batavia Biosciences Collaborate to Manufacture and Distribute Wistar’s Rubella Vaccine Globally

April 30, 2020
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Batavia’s low-cost vaccine manufacturing process will be used to produce Wistar’s drug substance and drug product formulations, to be distributed to vaccine manufacturers.

The Wistar Institute and Batavia Biosciences announced a collaboration to streamline the clinical-grade manufacture and global distribution of Wistar’s rubella vaccine seed stock commonly known as RA 27/3, the companies announced in an April 29, 2020 press release. In December 2019, Wistar was awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support this global access-focused international collaboration.

“We must continually find creative ways for non-profit and for-profit companies to work together to make life-saving technologies easily accessible to people around the globe,” said Heather Steinman, Wistar’s vice-president for business development and executive director of technology transfer, in the press release. “The generous funding support from the Gates Foundation is the glue that has enabled Wistar and Batavia Biosciences to unite with a single mission of ensuring long-term supplies of RA 27/3.”

“Combining the established know-how and experience at The Wistar Institute with our technology to manufacture vaccines at low cost and the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides us with an exciting opportunity to increase the distribution of a critical vaccine,” said Chris Yallop, Batavia’s CSO and COO, in the press release.

The rubella vaccine was developed at Wistar in 1969 and is safe and effective at providing long-lasting protection. The number of countries using rubella vaccines in their national immunization programs is steadily increasing. Despite this progress, rubella control is lagging behind, and several countries have neither introduced the vaccine nor set elimination or control targets. One major issue is supply shortage, mainly due to insufficient production capability. The number of companies that produce rubella vaccines has been steadily decreasing, causing global shortages of the vaccine. Batavia, headquartered in the Netherlands, shares with Wistar a focus on rapidly accelerating the development of vaccines and other biopharmaceutical product candidates from discovery to market to improve global health. 

With the Gates foundation support, Wistar will be able to archive the existing supplies of research-grade rubella virus seed stock and transfer the necessary supplies to Batavia to enable the development of readily accessible good manufacturing practice-grade rubella drug substances and drug product formulations, with the intent to distribute these critical materials to vaccine manufacturers around the world through a universal license agreement construct.

Source: Batavia Biosciences