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Manufacture Business Practice, Vaccines, Trends & Forecasts

The PATH to Success

PATH has been around for 40 years and is one of the largest non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the world. PATH works in 70 countries, employs more than 1,600 staff, and focuses on reducing inequity in health by driving innovation to deliver systematic change in global health outcomes. Oftentimes, PATH steps in where market forces are unable to deliver health solutions to the most vulnerable populations, and has five main platforms: vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, devices, and service and system information.

Success stories
  • I am particularly proud of the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, which was driven by PATH and GlaxoSmithKline, along with a number of other partners. It resulted in the world’s first approved malaria vaccine. We are now conducting pilot studies on how to introduce the vaccine.
  • Around 15 years ago, we embarked on a project to tackle meningitis A – a big problem in parts of Africa. We worked with ministers of health, the FDA, and a number of companies to identify a vaccine – with the agreement that the eventual price of the vaccine had to be below 50 cents per dose. We successfully developed a vaccine called MenAfriVac, which was prequalified by the WHO. Around 300 million people have been immunized so far and meningitis A is now on the verge of being eliminated in the “meningitis belt” of Africa. We’re now working on getting the vaccine incorporated into various national immunization systems, as well as developing a polyvalent version of the vaccine to tackle other strains of meningitis.
  • We have helped a Chinese company with their development of a less expensive version of a Japanese encephalitis vaccine, and obtaining WHO prequalification so it can be used to protect people across Asia. 
  • We have worked with biotech companies and Sanofi to develop a new method to produce semi-synthetic artemisinin  – the antimalarial compound derived from the wormwood plant. Supply of artemisinin is dependent on the wormwood crop, which fluctuates drastically in supply and price. The new method is semisynthetic and provides an additional stable source of the drug. 
  • We have worked with Pfizer, Becton Dickinson (BD) and others to create and roll out an alternative, self-injectable method of delivering the contraceptive drug, Depo-Provera using a simple delivery device, Uniject. 
  • We have driven a scheme involving an adhesive sticker that changes color when exposed to a certain temperature – indicating that a vaccine has been out of the cold chain and thus cannot be used. It has been rolled out across seven billion units and we estimate the number of lives saved to be in the hundreds of thousands – and the number of dollars saved to be in the millions.
  • We have worked with the Zambian government to change the way they tackle malaria by focusing on the 80 percent of non-symptomatic carriers of the parasite. Through this, we have seen a 92 percent reduction in malaria where the program was rolled out in Southern Province of Zambia.

Find out more about Steve in this month’s Sitting Down With here.

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About the Author
Steve Davis

Steve Davis is President and CEO of PATH and lecturer, Social Innovation, at Stanford University, California.

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