Breakthrough in the global battle against polio: AJ Vaccines granted WHO prequalification for new polio vaccine

International vaccine manufacturer, AJ Vaccines has received WHO prequalification for Picovax®, the first stand-alone dose sparing Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) on 21st April 2020. First deliveries to UN agencies such as UNICEF and PAHO are expected by mid-2020.

COPENHAGEN, 22 April 2020 – Despite ongoing concerted efforts to eradicate polio, it appears to be on the rise again with more cases registered in 2019 than 2018. Looking ahead, AJ Vaccines’ dose sparing technology provides a significant opportunity to expand supply, with the potential to deliver up to 100 million doses over the five-year period 2020-2024 to help meet the currently unmet global demand for inactivated polio vaccines.

A milestone achievement

The development of the first stand-alone dose sparing polio vaccine is a milestone for the significant investment and innovation in the Danish based vaccine production. “The WHO prequalification is an acknowledgement of our continued investment which enables AJ Vaccines to serve the growing demand for effective polio vaccines and we hereby open a new chapter in the company’s continued journey to serve the Danish population and a growing number of people globally”, says Mr. Abdulaziz Hamad Aljomaih, founding principal investor in AJ Vaccines.

A tribute to dedicated employees

The achievement of the WHO prequalification is a tribute to the employees for their dedication and contribution to a comprehensive review of production process and quality control procedures, independent laboratory testing, assessment of files and a site audit of manufacturing facilities carried out jointly between the WHO and Danish Medicines Agency in 2019. “The prequalification is a recognition of our dedicated employees’ competencies and embodies the essence of our company’s vision, striving for a world free of serious diseases across generations”, says Dr. Tabassum Khan, Chairman of AJ Vaccines.

Significant investments

The Picovax® development project was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Since our take over in 2017, we have invested significantly in the strategic expansion of our production facilities and recruitment of 200 new employees to secure AJ Vaccines’ position as a significant player in the vaccine market, contributing to the important strategic global goal for the eradication of polio”, says Jesper Helmuth Larsen, CEO of AJ Vaccines.

The new vaccine will play a key role in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)

The new Inactivated Polio Vaccine, Picovax, is indicated for active immunization against poliomyelitis by primary vaccination of infants from the age of six weeks, and for revaccination of infants, children and adolescents. The dose sparing IPV is shown to provide protection comparable to that provided by other inactivated polio vaccines currently available. “The dose sparing technology secures a much-needed increase in supply, helping to meet the increasing demand for inactivated polio vaccines to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative”, concludes Jérôme Cabannes, COO AJ Vaccines.

Mr. Abdulaziz Hamad Aljomaih, founding principal investor in AJ Vaccines.

Mr. Abdulaziz Hamad Aljomaih, founding principal investor in AJ Vaccines.