Sanofi Pasteur has agreed to collaborate with Oswaldo Cruz Foundation by means of its Immuno-biological Technology Institute, Bio-Manguinhos / Fiocruz and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) on Zika vaccine research.

WRAIR is a US Department of Defence Laboratory.

WRAIR and Sanofi Pasteur previously signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) to conduct research and development of a Zika vaccine using the former’s inactivated-virus vaccine (ZPIV) technology.

Under the collaboration, Fiocruz, WRAIR and Sanofi Pasteur will combine their expertise in the fight against the virus.

"We have a common goal of developing a vaccine to prevent this emerging disease threat imposed by the Zika virus."

According to the CRADA, WRAIR will provide its ZPIV candidate to Sanofi Pasteur to produce clinical material in compliance with existing good manufacturing practices (GMP) to support testing during Phase II.

Along with the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), WRAIR will sponsor and support a series of Phase I trials.

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At present, Sanofi Pasteur is creating a clinical development and regulatory strategy while WRAIR and NIAID are conducting the Phase I ZPIV trials.

The collaboration will see process development, vaccine characterisation, epidemiological studies, pre-clinical and clinical evaluation of a vaccine, as well as clinical assay optimisation.

Sanofi Pasteur R&D vice-president John Shiver said: “It only makes sense for the pursuit of public health that we combine our expertise and resources on Zika with Fiocruz, which is ideally based in Brazil where the heart of the current Zika experience lies.

“We have a common goal of developing a vaccine to prevent this emerging disease threat imposed by the Zika virus.”

Sanofi Pasteur provides several vaccines against flaviviruses, such as yellow fever, dengue, and Japanese encephalitis.