The Wellcome Trust and Merck & Co Inc today announced the creation of the MSD Wellcome Trust Hilleman Laboratories, an R&D institute focused on producing affordable vaccines to prevent diseases common in low-income countries. As well as developing new vaccines in areas of unmet need, the Hilleman Laboratories will also work on optimizing use of existing vaccines and so increasing their impact. The collaboration marks the first time a research charity and a pharmaceutical company have joined forces to create a separate entity with equally shared funding (to the tune of £90 million ($130 million) over the next seven years) and decision-making rights. The new venture will be based in India. According to the press release, it will ‘operate like a business, but with a not-for-profit operating model, to address the vaccine needs of low-income countries’. The institute is named after vaccine scientist Maurice Hilleman, who helped develop more than 30 vaccines in his career.
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