The recombinant nanoparticle-based rabies G protein vaccine is prepared using virus-like particle technology.
Suresh Gupta, President, Domestic Business
Cadila Pharmaceuticals has developed a unique three-dose recombinant nano-particle based rabies G protein vaccine called ThRabis. This is the first time ever that a company has produced such a vaccine. The earlier vaccines were five dose vaccines. The uniqueness is that a course of ThRabis, is a three-dose vaccine spread over seven days only. Unlike the older ones that are taken over 28 days.
According to Suresh Gupta, President, Domestic Business, Cadila Pharmaceuticals, “this is our own in-house vaccine and it has been developed over a period of 10 years and the DCGI has approved it based on the findings that we presented to them.”
When asked about the pricing of the vaccine, Gupta added, “the MRP of a single dose is Rs 715, and the MRP for the three doses works out to Rs 2,145. This has been approved by the DCGI and the pricing is similar to the older vaccine. So the cost is almost the same.”
The vaccine – ThRabis is prepared by using Virus-Like Particle technology (VLP). The VLPs self-assemble from this recombinant G protein which is produced from genes cloned into baculovirus expression vectors and expressed in Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) insect cells. The vaccine generates antibodies against rabies G protein, which leads to virus neutralisation, as well as prevents virus attachment to the cell to confer protection against rabies.
Cadila Pharmaceuticals successfully tested immunogenicity and safety of three doses, i.e. 50 µg (microgram) on days 0, 3 and 7 of the novel vaccine in Phase-I/II and Phase-III clinical trials in healthy volunteers as well as preclinical models. The safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine were established in the trials. Besides being convenient, ThRabis is an intramuscular vaccine and less painful for the recipients. It is also extremely convenient for doctors as it is ready to use vaccine and does not require reconstitution prior to use (Adding water for injection and mixing it thoroughly).
In the first phase, the company plans to target 14-15 states for promotion and distribution and with a field force of over 600 spread across the country, this will not be a challenge. According to Gupta, “the production capacity for the first year is two lakh doses which will be scaled up to one million doses in the second year and from the third year, there won’t be any capacity constraints.”
Speaking on the focus areas, Gupta said, “right now our focus is on the domestic market as we have a moral responsibility to cater to this market as we have developed this product. Once this is over, we will move to overseas markets.”
It is estimated that globally, rabies kills 59,000 animal bite victims every year, mainly in Asia and Africa. Over 20,000 people die in India alone, mainly because many animal bite victims do not complete the full course of the available vaccine.
“With this three-dose innovative vaccine, many more lives will be saved - lives that continue to be lost to a preventable disease like Rabies. This vaccine can be a game-changer in our global flight to eliminate rabies through a simpler and more convenient regimen. Continuing our journey of making affordable innovations available to the last man in society, ThRabis is one more addition to our portfolio of indigenous innovations,” shared Dr. Rajiv Modi, CMD, Cadila Pharmaceuticals.
Earlier in the day the ‘Cadila Against Rabies’ event was held in Ahmedabad and was attended by key experts from the Association for the Prevention and Control of Rabies in India (APCRI) Founder President and Mentor Dr. MK Sudarshan; President Dr. DH Ashwath Narayana; Secretary General Dr. Sumit Poddar, and Treasurer Dr. HS Ravish and other leading experts. They spoke about the need to eradicate rabies and appreciated Cadila Pharmaceuticals’ efforts. The panel discussion was followed by the launch of ThRabis – World’s 1st novel three-dose rabies vaccine.
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