Innovation in India

Locally developed vaccine delivers innovation and hope to vulnerable populations

This case study was adapted from an article published by Innovate4Health


Bharat Biotech, a research & development and vaccine manufacturing company based in Hyderabad, India.

The Challenge:

Each year more than 215,000 infants die from rotavirus—a highly contagious diarrheal disease that poses a significant risk to children, especially those living in resource-limited settings. Rotavirus is especially burdensome in India, where more than two million children are impacted annually.

The Opportunity:

ROTAVAC, the first rotavirus vaccine in recent history to be developed entirely in India, is more effective and affordable than previously developed prevention measures.

How Innovation was Made Possible:

ROTAVAC – developed locally and supported by intellectual property (IP) protections and crucial public-private partnerships – is more effective at preventing rotavirus. ROTAVAC is the first vaccine of its kind to be researched, developed and clinically tested within the same population it is intended to treat. This has led to improved efficacy, according to clinical trials among children two years and under in both rural and urban settings.

This innovation took decades to develop and has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives. And it was only possible because of IP protections and key public-private partnerships.

This revolutionary innovation took decades to develop and has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives. And it was only possible through IP protections and public-private partnerships. 

Intellectual property protects new inventions while simultaneously ensuring that information about the invention is available to the public. Because of that protection, Bharat Biotech was able to learn from others to develop a vaccine offers improvements while also drawing on the things that worked in the past.

Each vaccination costs less than $1, meaning it is an accessible long-term solution for low-income areas. Bharat Biotech has honored their commitment to offer ROTAVAC at this price point thanks in large part to public-private partnerships with a variety of groups, including the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology, PATH, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The development of ROTAVAC—which has already been awarded WHO prequalification and license in two countries—represents important progress in the global effort to combat rotavirus. It also demonstrates the importance of strong IP systems and diverse partnerships to ensuring patients most in need have access to the latest treatments and cures.

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