Vaccine manufacturers in India and other developing countries may be able to produce a lower-cost HPV vaccine in spite of the complicated array of patent protections on the technology, say researchers at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy.
At a cost of at least $300 (about R3 000) for the three-dose regimen, the blockbuster HPV vaccines, including Gardasil® from Merck and Cervarix® from GlaxoSmithKline, are some of the most expensive ever introduced.
In this study, the researchers gathered and analysed all of the HPV vaccine-related patents that have so far been granted in the US and internationally. That IP landscape is complex, with at least 81 US patents granted to date.
The researchers focused their attention on India, where 19 of 86 international patent applications had been filed by the close of 2008.
Focus on India
India is of special interest because it bears nearly 25% of the global cervical cancer burden, and is a main supplier of childhood vaccines to agencies like the World Health Organization. Its growing middle class is also a potentially large market for the sale of HPV vaccines, Chandrasekharan said.