VIENNA Austrian biotech group Intercell has launched its Japanese encephalitis vaccine in India, and hopes to win approval for other Asian countries, it said on Thursday.
The company had expected the Indian launch of the vaccine - its first product on the market, which helped it swing to a profit in the second quarter - in the first half.
The vaccine, which will be called Jeev in India and is known as Ixario in other markets, is already available for adult travelers and military personnel in Europe, north America, Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel and Australia.
"We have taken a major step forward in achieving our goal of rolling out this Japanese Encephalitis vaccine in endemic countries with a high medical need in order to protect children and adults," Intercell Chief Executive Thomas Lingelbach said.
The mosquito-borne disease, which can cause fever, convulsions and coma, is most prevalent in southeast Asia and the Far East, and is more likely to kill children than adults. Tens of thousands of cases are reported annually in Asia.
Intercell said it expected the approval for other Asian territories through the World Health Organisation, and said Swiss drugmaker Novartis would be responsible for marketing and distribution in those countries.
Novartis owns 14.9 percent of Intercell.
In India, Jeev was launched by Intercell's partner Biological E., which makes the vaccine at a plant in Hyderabad. First deliveries are expected in the second half of September, with full-scale commercial manufacturing shortly afterwards.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Mark Potter)