How Lyophilization Technologies Are Helping Cut Logistical Costs and Increase Shelf Life of Vaccines Worldwide

The biopharmaceuticals sector has received a strong push from governments and healthcare organizations to focus on the development of protein-based injectables and therapeutics. While this means that the world will have more vaccines for various diseases, it also puts substantial pressure on the logistical ‘cold chain’ that endeavors to bring the right vaccine to the right place at the right time. That’s because about 98% of all vaccines need cold chain shipment, says the 2010 edition of the Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook.
Lyophilization has proven to be an efficient solution to reduce this dependence on cold chain shipments by improving the thermostability of vaccines. Recent advancements in lyophilization techniques and equipment have ensured that the storage and distribution of vaccines becomes safer and easier without biopharmaceutical companies being excessively reliant on exorbitant logistical chains.
Browse Market Research Report of Lyophilization Equipment and Services Market:
Thus, the robust outlook of the lyophilization equipment and services market is emblematic of the shift toward better vaccine preservation and storage techniques. Market intelligence firm Transparency Market Research expects that the global lyophilization equipment and services market will expand at a CAGR of 8.5% between 2014 and 2020. The market stood at US$2.73 billion as of 2013, and will reach a valuation of US$4.80 billion by 2020, says TMR.
How Technologies such as ThermoVax® are Game-Changers in the Lyophilization Market
Soligenix, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company, has been actively engaged in the development of ThermoVax®, a heat stabilization technology compatible for use with a variety of vaccines. This technology makes use of a high-precision lyophilization technique for protein immunogens with along with conventional aluminum and secondary adjuvants so as to reduce the number of vaccinations required while providing rapid immunity.
The first demonstration of ThermoVax’s utility was seen with the recent formulation of a thermostable human papillomavirus vaccine. At studies conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, the vaccine has shown the desired levels of stability at ambient temperatures.
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Thermostable Vaccine Helps Curb Meningitis in Africa 
The impressive potential of lyophilization can be demonstrated by citing the example of MenAfriVac, a lyophilized vaccine formulated of purified meningococcal A that has helped save thousands of lives in Africa. The vaccine was developed following the ghastly meningitis epidemic in Africa in 1996-97 in which 250,000 new meningitis cases were reported. Consequently, the World Health Organization and eight African countries partnered with other international organizations to develop MenAfriVac. The partnership was formed in 2001 with heavy funding (US$70 million) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The much-needed stability of the vaccine was possible thanks to the lyophilization (freeze-drying) process. This even gave the WHO the confidence to approve the storage of MenAfriVac outside the cold chain but in a controlled temperature chain of up to 40°C for three to four days.
Buoyed by these success stories, many governments across the world are now more willing to fund initiatives for the advancement of lyophilization techniques. Take for instance the US$11.9 million contract that was awarded by the NIH to the Infectious Disease Research Institute to develop, formulate, and test a lyophilized tuberculosis vaccine that boasts superior thermostability.
It is thus evident that exciting times lie ahead for the global lyophilization equipment and services market as the technique has shown unrivalled promise in increasing the shelf life of vaccines no matter how or where they are shipped.

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