GlaxoSmithKline will develop a six-in-one vaccine to protect children in India against polio and other infectious diseases.

The UK pharmaceutical giant has formed a 50/50 joint venture (JV) with Biological E, a biotechnology company based in Hyderabad, to begin early-stage research on the combination vaccine.

If approved, the new product will combine GSK‘s injectable polio shot and Biological E’s pentavalent vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B.

The JV will pay for the development of the candidate vaccine, which is expected to enter Phase I clinical trials in the next two years.

India celebrated a milestone in its fight against polio, with no new cases reported in 2012.

But the World Health Organisation warned this month that it would take another two years of no cases before India could be certified as being ‘polio-free’.

GSK president Christophe Weber said; "This agreement is fully aligned to GSK’s vision of providing high quality vaccines to those in need and by leveraging Biological E’s strengths, this particular vaccine has the potential to be play a significant role in the fight against polio."

Only three countries remain polio-endemic, including Pakistan, where vaccination teams have been killed by gunmen, believed to be militants who claim the polio vaccine is intended to make Muslim children sterile.

Image: The combination vaccine is expected to enter Phase I clinical trials in the next two years. Photo: Courtesy of