The world is on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine, the World Health Organization declared Friday. A vaccine being developed by Merck
(NYSE: MRK) and NewLink Genetics (NASDAQ: NLNK) was shown to be 100 percent effective in preventing Ebola, according to an interim look from a
late-stage study in Guinea.
The results need to be confirmed, but WHO Director-General Margaret Chan called them “an extremely promising development.”
Does this mean Merck and NewLink are going to make big bucks? Not necessarily. And Merck says that wasn’t its aim in the first place.
“Our motivation to pursue this opportunity was to address a public health need,” Merck Vaccines’ Mark Feinberg said in a telephone interview. “We did
not believe this was a commercial opportunity.”
Could it be true? Big Pharma interested more in saving lives than it is in turning over a profit? Call me cynical, but I find it difficult to believe
that companies such as Merck are doing this solely for the benefit of humankind. I am not saying they are developing it only for materialistic gain,
but it seems WAY too altruistic an action for Big Pharma.
This part caught my eye:
The vaccine, which was originally developed by the Canadian government, continues in testing. The WHO said timing for potential licensing is
uncertain, and noted there may be the possibility for stockpiling after that.
Feinberg said that could potentially generate a profit, though he added that it was too early to speculate further.
What do you think?