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Emerging Technology and Major Partnerships in Influenza Vaccines
Influenza is a burgeoning problem across the entire globe, there is an increased need for new therapeutic methods. A whole host of technology platforms are being utilized to create non egg based vaccines. The world has not seen an influenza pandemic, and in terms of historical occurrences, we are several years overdue of one. There is a critical need for a universal vaccine, that has the potential to prevent multiple strains of influenza, so that yearly vaccinations can be eliminated and healthcare costs can be reduced. The main focus of the research service features the influenza vaccine market and the types of emerging technologies as well as developing partnerships over 2010-2013.
1. The Influenza therapeutics industry can be split into two main segments the antiviral industry and the influenza vaccines industry. There is a lot of funding for these industries to ensure protection for the global population against seasonal and pandemic influenza. Companies are striving to cover everyone, including the high-risk groups, such as children below the age of 2, adults above the age of 65, and people with preexisting medical conditions.
2. The influenza vaccine industry is witnessing a shift from the conventional egg-based vaccine development methods to more novel approaches. Some of them being DNA-based, recombinant subunit-based and even microbial vector-based approaches. These approaches are proving to be more cost effective and seem to have a higher rate of mass production, which is crucial if an influenza pandemic surfaces.
3. Efforts are being directed toward covering a boarder spectrum of viral strains than those presently being covered by seasonal influenza vaccines. The FDA has approved quadrivalent vaccines for distribution during the 2013-2014 seasonal influenza which covers Xstrains. There has been an increase in collaborations for the development of these ‘universal vaccines’ across the globe.
4. Developing new modes of administration of influenza vaccines is also an avenue that is being heavily explored by large and small biotechnology companies. They aim to eliminate the need for a needle and make it less invasive; this seems to be the primary focus of most research efforts. Some of the more nascent forms of administrating vaccines are oral vaccines and vaccine patches.
5. Looking more into R&D in a geographic perspective, there is a lot of funding going into influenza therapeutics in the US. In Europe, there is greater focus of R&D on new antiviral drug therapies and less focus on the vaccine industry. There is increasing focus on R&D in Asia Pacific and various new developments have taken place on the vaccine front, especially in countries, such as Singapore and Australia.
Influenza is a form of viral infection that can spread rapidly between people. It affects almost every age group and tends to impact the economy due to a significant decrease in productivity when employed professionals take sick leave. Seasonal epidemics usually affect the northern hemisphere (temperate regions) during the winter months. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), worldwide influenza affects about Xmillion people annually and causes anywhere between X to Xdeaths. Children below the age of two, senior citizens ( over 65 years) and people who already have medical aliments, fall under the high-risk group. Seasonal influenza can be prevented by annual vaccinations against the prevalent strains for that season.
Influenza strains tend to rapidly mutate, aiding them in gaining resistance against the influenza vaccinations and antiviral drugs. Scientists in university laboratories and pharmaceuticals are trying to develop universal vaccines, that will provide patients boarder coverage against multiple influenza strains.
Looking at the larger picture, the influenza therapeutics industry has been experiencing many crucial changes. There are quite a few technical and business challenges that require immediate attention. The healthcare industry in general is moving toward preventative treatment options. Vaccine improvements will benefit all age groups as well as people with pre-existing conditions. The target demographics for these vaccines will increase , subsequently reducing epidemics across the globe.
Referencing sources on previous pandemics that have occurred, an influenza pandemic is currently overdue, which is an important point to note, as challenges with regards to pandemic influenza vaccinations need to be addressed immediately, to stay abreast with the situation of a potential pandemic.
The research service covers the following:
• Captures technologies used for influenza therapeutics and highlights innovations in the influenza vaccines and antiviral industry Orientation of research for existing and emerging diseases.
• Outlines the research portfolio, key trends and addresses the key technical challenges and key market challenges, and key performance
• Identifies opportunities in the field of targeted drug delivery for emerging and existing applications
• Provides strategic insights by highlighting the key performance indicators in the influenza therapeutics industry
• Highlights partnerships/collaborations at a global level for enhancing the development of influenza vaccines and entering into the market
• Provides strategic recommendations and conclusions, for companies working on influenza therapeutics to identify areas of growth
• Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) that analyzes the current research portfolio adopted by most companies for existing and emerging diseases.
Influenza Therapeutics Snapshot
• The influenza therapeutics market is valued at more than US $6 billion. (Frost & Sullivan Research Services)
• The Influenza vaccines segment is the largest and is expected to be $X billion
• The market is dominated by prophylactic vaccines for seasonal influenza treatments.
• Trivalent intramuscular vaccines form the largest market share under prophylactic vaccines.
• It is projected that quadrivalent vaccines will start dominating the market over the next five to seven years.
Influenza Therapeutics Market
Influenza Vaccines: X%
Antiviral Drugs: X%
Presently influenza vaccines are based of two forms. One is the inactivated form that is usually delivered as an injection and the live attenuated form, that is delivered intranasally. The inactivated form can be further spilt into X different segments--the whole virus vaccine, split virus vaccine, and the subunit vaccine. These conventional methods predominantly use an egg-based production methodology. The present technology trend is moving toward reducing the egg-based production approach and delving deeper into cell-based production approaches.
The cell-based approaches are still under development and do not have any standardized protocols. There is also a lot of government, and private funded research taking place in small biotechnology companies and universities that are focusing on innovating novel technology platforms to produce and manufacture influenza vaccines. The conventional methods of production are not cost effective and take a long time to produce, approximately 6 to 9 months is needed for a flu vaccine to become available to the end user population. These novel and nascent technologies are aimed at solving challenges involving high cost of production and reduce the time required for the vaccine to become available to the end users.
• Influenza, commonly known as ‘flu’ is a respiratory infection caused by RNA viruses in the Orthomxyoviridae family.
• It is divided into three subtypes A, B and C, based on antigenic and genetic differences in their hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) glycoproteins present on the surface of the virus.
• Seasonal human influenza is caused by types A and B, whereas type C occurs rarely as a mild disease in children
• Currently, the H1N1, H3N2, H5N1 strains of influenza are prevalent in humans and extensive research is being undertaken for developing therapeutics against these strains.
Influenza Subtype A
• Most of the common influenza epidemics affecting the human population are predominantly caused by this particular subtype of influenza. They are constantly mutating due to antigenic shifts. Two very important proteins that are present on the viral surface are hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). At present, there are around X different subtypes of HA and 9 forms of NA. This form of influenza tends to undergo both the antigenic drift as well as the antigenic shift.
Influenza Subtype B
• This genus of virus, tends to mutate at a much slower rate than the influenza virus A. But unfortunately, most vaccinations do not give lasting immunity for this strain due to the manner in which they mutate.
• Mutations also happen due to antigenic shifts similar to Influenza virus A . This genus is found only in humans unlike Influenza virus A.
Influenza Subtype C
• This is a lot rarer compare to influenza virus A & B, but it has also been known to cause some epidemics which can be severe in intensity.
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