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18 Apr 2013


Health & Consumers
Social Europe & Jobs
Biological E and GAVI partnership will reach millions of children with life-saving vaccine

GENEVA, 18 April 2013 – The cost of immunising millions of the world’s most vulnerable children against five deadly and debilitating diseases is set to fall, thanks to a major price reduction of one third for pentavalent vaccine. This new, more cost-effective price provides the opportunity for the GAVI Alliance to pay up to US$ 150 million less over the next four years compared with using lowest cost alternative suppliers.

A supply agreement with Biological E Ltd of India makes the five-in-one shot available to GAVI for just $1.19 per dose, compared to the 2012 weighted average price of $2.17.

“This is great news for children in the world’s poorest countries and it shows that our innovative public-private partnership model is working well,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance. “A decade ago we had just one European supplier and a price of US$ 3.56. Today we have five suppliers, including two in India, and a price that is down to its lowest level yet. This marks the realisation of a vision that GAVI started a decade ago to create a healthy, competitive and sustainable global market for pentavalent vaccine. ”

Demand for pentavalent vaccine has been strong, with 70 of the 73 GAVI-eligible countries having already introduced it, and the three remaining countries – Somalia, Indonesia, and South Sudan – approved to do so. UNICEF, an Alliance partner, managed the tender process for GAVI, which saw agreements made with Biological E, Crucell, GlaxoSmithKline, Serum Institute of India and new pentavalent supplier, LG Life Sciences of the Republic of Korea. 

The GAVI Alliance was created in 2000 to accelerate the introduction of new vaccines so that all children, no matter where they live, have the same access to this life-saving technology. National governments, donors and vaccine suppliers must all play their part to ensure infants in the poorest countries are protected. The partnership aggregates donor funding, pools demand from countries, and works with suppliers to deliver lower and more accessible pricing. This reduces risk to supplies, enabling all partners to benefit and, most importantly, ensuring that the world can urgently reach all children with the vaccines they need.

“This partnership demonstrates the growing role of developing world manufacturers in the sustainable supply of effective, affordable vaccines,” said Mahima Datla, Managing Director of Biological E. “We are proud that our work to provide affordable prices for a variety of countries means life-saving vaccines can reach the most underprivileged children in the world.”

Pentavalent vaccines combine the antigens for five infectious diseases in a single shot, namely diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). Pentavalent is already GAVI’s most widely used vaccine and by 2020 GAVI support for this vaccine will have helped to avert more than seven million deaths.

“More affordable vaccines help us save and protect more children,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Today’s announcement is a testimony to the vision of Biological E’s Dr. Vijay K. Datla, who was committed to manufacturing vaccines at prices that make them one of the most cost-effective investments we can make in global health.”

This new agreement is another example of how the GAVI Alliance model is delivering on the promises GAVI made at the London pledging conference in June 2011, when donors committed an additional US$ 4.3 billion towards GAVI’s 2011-2015 programmes. In October, partners and donors will meet in Stockholm to review GAVI’s progress. 

The announcement comes shortly before the Global Vaccine Summit that will be held in Abu Dhabi on 24-25 April to continue momentum in the Decade of Vaccines, a vision and commitment to reach all children with the vaccines they need. Global health leaders will endorse the critical role that vaccines play in saving lives and protecting children for a lifetime. 


GAVI Alliance

The GAVI Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in developing countries. The Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. GAVI uses innovative finance mechanisms, including co-financing by recipient countries, to secure sustainable funding and adequate supply of quality vaccines. Since 2000, GAVI has financed the immunisation of an additional 370 million children and prevented more than 5.5 million premature deaths. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


GAVI is funded by governments [Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States], the European Commission, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as private and corporate partners [Absolute Return for Kids, Anglo American plc., The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Comic Relief, Dutch Postcode Lottery, His Highness Sheikh Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, JP Morgan, “la Caixa” Foundation, LDS Charities and Vodafone].

Biological E Limited

Biological E is a privately held company established in 1953. Biological E. Limited (Bio E) is a globally focused biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and markets innovative vaccines and biologics that respond to health care needs worldwide. The company’s product development efforts are driven by an internationally experienced management team and the company has several strategic partnerships with leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and research institutes around the world. For more information, visit

Biological E currently holds the rotating GAVI Board seat as representative of the Developing Country Vaccine Industry. Biological E did not participate in the governance discussions around this issue.


Media requests:

Dan Thomas

+41 79 251 8581 mobile

+41 22 909 6524  office


Rob Kelly

+41 22 909 2978 office

+41 79 745 2031 mobile





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