Sanofi abandons Zika vaccine development after funding cuts

Sanofi Pasteur — the vaccines division of Paris-based Sanofi — halted development of its Zika vaccine after learning of research funding cuts.

Sanofi announced its decision Sept. 1. The drugmaker said HHS' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority informed Sanofi in mid-August of its decision to cut funding for the vaccine. The U.S. Army — which initiated the Zika vaccine's development — entered a research and development deal with Sanofi in December 2016, since the company was better equipped to conduct large-scale clinical trials for the vaccine candidate.

"Sanofi does not intend to continue development of, or seek a license from, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research for the Zika vaccine candidate at this time," said the company. "We are proud of our contributions to the productive collaboration to date, which will result in significant contributions to science and to others who may continue pursuing licensure for an effective and safe Zika vaccine."

While there are several experimental Zika vaccines at different stages of clinical testing, Sanofi was the only major drugmaker working on a Zika immunization with a near-term market goal, according to STAT.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Top NIH researcher says Zika vaccine should be available within 2 years 
Herd immunity likely keeping Zika numbers low this summer 
Florida identifies 1st case of sexually transmitted Zika for 2017 

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