Press Release

Medicines in Development for Vaccines

PhRMA April 20, 2012

Washington, D.C. (April 20, 2012)— America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are developing nearly 300 vaccines for the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of diseases, according to a new report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). The vaccines – all either currently tested in clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration – include 170 for infectious diseases, 102 for cancers and eight for neurological disorders.

“Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of biomedical science and public health,” said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. “Over the past few decades, vaccinations have helped prevent and in some cases nearly eliminate contagious and deadly diseases affecting children and adults alike.

According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. there has been a greater than 90 percent decrease in incidence of nine infectious diseases, including smallpox and measles, for which vaccines have been recommended for decades. Reduction in mortality and morbidity by vaccination means less doctor’s visits and hospitalizations, which translates into healthcare cost savings, as well as fewer lost days at work, leading to improved productivity.

Building on the tremendous progress in helping to control infectious diseases that were once common in the U.S., such as polio, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps and tetanus, newer vaccines are providing protections against a wide array of other diseases, including cancer prevention. For example, a few years ago the first vaccine to protect against four types of human papillomavirus (HPV) was approved. HPV can lead to cervical and other cancers.

Vaccines currently in development include:

  • A genetically-modified vaccine for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
  • A therapeutic vaccine that increases the immune response against the HIV virus.
  • A vaccine that protects infants against meningococcal disease, a leading cause of meningitis.
  • An immunotherapeutic vaccine for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A recombinant vaccine to prevent malaria.

Evolving science has increasingly enabled researchers to explore both promising therapeutic vaccines and new preventative agents for infectious diseases. Although the development process is extremely complex, advances in other scientific fields, such as genomics, are being leveraged in the development of new vaccines.

“Vaccines have been a major contributor in saving countless lives around the world,” said Castellani. “Vaccinations contribute to the public health at large, and they make good economic sense. The many exciting candidates in the pipeline offer great hope for a healthier, more productive future.”

Related Information

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $49.5 billion in 2011 in discovering and developing new medicines.

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