The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was recently awarded the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s 2016 Patents For Humanity award for their work developing an improved meningitis vaccine production process. The patented technology has led to the MenAfriVac® vaccine, and more than 235 million people in Africa’s high-risk meningitis belt have been immunized with it since 2010. Unlike previous vaccines, the new technology created by the FDA raised the vaccine production yield from 20% to 60% and enabled the vaccine to last up to four days without refrigeration. The FDA has licensed the technology to the Meningitis Vaccine Program (MVP) and hosted production scientists from MVP’s Indian manufacturer to teach them how to use the vaccine production technology.
Only four cases of meningitis A were reported in 2013 in the immunized region covering 16 countries. In 2015, the World Health Organization recommended that MenAfriVac® be introduced in routine immunization schedules in sub-Saharan Africa. This will ensure that infants are protected against meningitis and will maintain population-wide immunity.
The Life Sciences team at Klarquist, led by William D. Noonan, M.D., works with the FDA to manage their patent portfolio. Wayne Rupert and Susan Graf, Ph.D. successfully prosecuted patent applications for the FDA’s Polysaccharide-Protein Conjugate Vaccine invention that led to the MenAfriVac® vaccine.