Malaria is one tough cookie. There are prophylaxes to prevent infection and other drugs available to treat the infection, but an effective vaccine has largely eluded drugmakers. The lack of an effective vaccine leads to close to 900,000 deaths a year. That's the population of the state of Delaware.
Rather than fight the microorganism alone, Crucell
Combining treatments to increase efficacy isn't anything new. Pfizer
Unlike HIV and cancer, though, the moneymaking opportunity for Crucell and Glaxo is limited because malaria isn't a big problem for countries that can afford high drug prices. The duo will likely have to find a nonprofit or government entity to pony up some cash to fund the large phase 3 trial.
Developing a malaria vaccine won't get the companies rich, but cutting into the 900,000 annual deaths should give them some positive publicity. Considering the beating the industry has taken due to high health-care costs, investors should welcome the potential public relations bonus.
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