Hilleman Laboratories

Inspired by legacy of Dr. Maurice Hilleman, the MSD-Wellcome Trust Hilleman Laboratories is a unique, public-private collaboration whose purpose is to make access to vaccines in lower-income countries more equitable, affordable, and sustainable by discovering and developing new vaccines through innovation in science and technology.
Private Foundation or Development Organization 1

Delivering vaccines for global health. Hilleman Laboratories specializes in early discovery and development of vaccines, that if shown to have promise, finds expert partners to whom vaccine candidates can be transferred for further testing, registration, and if approved eventual manufacturing in support of supply to Gavi and others.

Despite tremendous progress, the burden of vaccine preventable disease continues to be high in lower-income markets, in part because of delayed and inequitable access to life-saving vaccines.  Among many challenges, equitable and timely access to vaccines is often hindered by a lack of affordable supply or product characteristics that are not well-suited for unique environments, such that storage, distribution, and delivery are infeasible or inefficient.  These are the types of challenges Hilleman Labs seeks to help overcome through innovation in science and technology.

Hilleman Laboratories pursues its work through strong collaboration across a diverse set of government and non-government organizations that span science, technology, public health, and the vaccine industry; including, for example, the World Health Organization, Gavi, UNICEF, vaccine manufacturers and others. Current program areas include working to innovate vaccines for cholera, shigella and meningitis such that they are more affordable and more suited to meet the needs of lower-income country vaccination programs. The joint venture is headquartered in India and was founded in 2009 with co-funding from MSD* and Wellcome Trust.

*MSD is known as Merck & Co., Inc. in the United States & Canada

Results and milestones

Current research at Hilleman Laboratories is aimed at a major, unmet need for low income countries, such as developing a more thermostable, affordable rotavirus vaccine. Using innovative lyophilization and spray drying technologies, Hilleman Laboratories has made significant progress in developing new formulations of an optimized rotavirus vaccine with highly thermostable profiles that will allow for greater temperature consistency and less reliance on exact storage timing and refrigeration.

Hilleman Laboratories has also advanced partnership efforts to expand novel vaccine candidates for cholera and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) mediated infection, leading causes of diarrheal disease in impoverished settings. Hilleman Laboratories, in collaboration with Gotovax AB, aims to deliver a high impact Oral Cholera vaccine at a significantly more affordable price than the ones currently available in the market. Easy to administer, with cross protection against ETEC diarrhea and enhanced with a longer shelf life, this vaccine candidate will be most suited for geographies with the highest cholera burden like Africa and South Asia.

In addition, Hilleman Laboratories aims to develop new lines of treatment for Shigellosis, one of the leading causes of death and disability in children worldwide, especially in low income countries of Africa and South Asia. Traditionally Shigella infection is treated with antibiotics and currently there is no vaccine to prevent Shigellosis. Hilleman Laboratories, in partnership with NICED, plans to develop vaccines against the infection and establish proof-of-concept in the clinic.

Finally, the Labs are exploring creative, low cost solutions for delivery and packaging, to simplify vaccine administration in the field. To guide development, Hilleman Laboratories continues to obtain external input from the global health community through routine consultation with its Strategic Advisory Group and other stakeholders.

Geographic Reach
  • Africa
  • Americas
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Europe
  • South-East Asia
  • Western Pacific
See Where
Disease Area
  • Infectious and Parasitic Disease
See Disease Areas
Target Population
  • Children
  • Youth
  • People with low incomes
Partner organizations
Private Foundation or Development Organization

Wellcome Trust

Additional resources