Aenon Pharmaceuticals Acquires Distributorship for GlaxoSmithKline’s Rabipur Rabies Vaccine
04/07/2021

Aenon Pharm’s appointment anchors the company’s position as a leading Travel Vaccine Specialist in Singapore

Online PR News – 07-April-2021 – Singapore – Bavarian Nordic A/S has appointed Aenon Pharmaceuticals SEA (Aenon Pharm) as its distributor for its newly acquired Rabipur rabies vaccine, purchased from GlaxoSmithKline for EUR 797 million in 2019. A fully integrated vaccine company based near Copenhagen, Denmark, Bavarian Nordic A/S focuses on the development, manufacture and commercialisation of vaccines. The company is also the owner of the first non-replicating live smallpox vaccine, JYNNEOS™, which was approved for use as by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019.

Rabipur®, sold as Rabavert® in the US, is an inactivated rabies virus vaccine. It is considered a critically important life-saving vaccine. Supported by over 30 years of research and clinical experience, Rabipur® has been approved for use in immunisation against rabies in over 60 countries worldwide, including Singapore.

Rabies, one of the oldest diseases known to mankind and commonly known as “mad dog disease”, is a deadly disease caused by the rabies virus. It is transmitted to humans through the saliva of infected animals, through bites, scratches and direct mucosal contact. When clinical symptoms appear, rabies is considered 100% fatal. Only a small handful of people have ever survived a rabies infection. The survivors have received at least one or more doses of a rabies vaccine .

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that rabies causes 59,000 human deaths per year globally. Rabies still occurs in 150 countries, with 95% of cases in Asia and Africa . 99% of human rabies are caused by dogs. However, exposure can also occur through other mammals like cats and bats. 40% of rabies exposure occur in children 15 years old and below. Children are naturally attracted to animals and may not report bites or exposure (licks) and tend to be bitten or licked around the face and hands – areas with a high density of nerve endings.

While Singapore is considered free from rabies, outbreaks of the disease still occur in neighbouring Asian countries which have large indigenous dog populations. Recent outbreaks have occurred in Thailand (20 deaths in 2018; 600,000 stray dogs in Bangkok ), Indonesia (12 deaths in 2019; 9,000 stray dogs in Dompu ) and Malaysia (28 deaths ). In India, there is a huge demand for rabies vaccines , but still 20,000 rabies fatalities occur annually .

Rabies infects the central nervous system. Symptoms may not appear until weeks or months after exposure. At first, there are vague symptoms like weakness or discomfort, fever, or headache. Within days, the person experiences confusion, agitation, hydrophobia (fear of water) and eventually progresses to delirium, coma and death. The first rabies vaccine was developed by two French scientists, Louis Pasteur and Émile Roux in 1885, with the first vaccination administered to 9-year-old Joseph Meister who had been mauled by a rabid dog. Joseph was given injections of a vaccine derived from the spinal cord of an inoculated rabbit which had died of rabies 15 days earlier and survived.
Rabipur® is a purified chick embryo cell-culture vaccine (PCECV), developed in 1984. Over 3 decades, the vaccine has been shown to offer 100% protection when used as quickly as possible for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). 4-5 doses of Rabipur® are required for PEP. These doses are given over 14-28 days. If a person has been bitten, Rabies Immunoglobulin (RIG) must be prepared and infiltrated into each bite or exposed wound within 0-7 days. RIG is expensive and may not be available in many clinics overseas. To ensure protection against rabies – Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) can be considered. PrEP eliminates the need for RIG. It also reduces the number of injections required for PEP from 4-5 doses to 2 doses. 3 doses of Rabipur® are required when used as PrEP.

Aenon Pharm: Singapore’s “Travel Vaccine Specialist”
This new appointment for the sales, marketing and distribution of Rabipur® establishes Aenon Pharm as the pharmaceutical “travel vaccine specialist” in Singapore. Between 2015 and 2018, Aenon Pharm was granted distribution rights for three travel-related vaccines - Ixiaro® (FDA-approved vaccine against Japanese Encephalitis), Dukoral® (Oral vaccine against Cholera and ETEC diarrhoea) and Vivotif® (FDA-approved oral vaccine against Typhoid). Aenon Pharm currently markets and distributes these vaccines to various travel vaccination centres and clinics in Singapore.

“Acquiring the rights to Rabipur allows us to better serve the travel vaccination market in Singapore, as we are able to provide clinics with a broader range of important travel vaccines”, said Chris Chua, Managing Director of Aenon Pharm. “Rabipur® though is more than a travel vaccine. Veterinarians, laboratory personnel and people who handle animals or are exposed to wildlife need to protect themselves against rabies. In Singapore – there are a sizeable number of people who are treated annually for animal bites. Rabipur® is considered potentially life-saving in these situations”.

COVID-19 brought on unprecedented changes in the travel industry and Aenon Pharm was similarly affected. There were drastically fewer travellers in 2020. The company had to write off and dispose a large quantity of its vaccine stocks. “We cannot mitigate for such situations. However Prime Minister Lee has said that Singapore might re-open borders for leisure and business travel by the end of 2021. Singaporeans are eager to resume travelling. We are taking steps to ensure that our vaccines are available for Singaporeans when they begin to travel again”.

About Rabipur® (Tradename Rabavert® in US and Canada)
Rabipur® is an FDA-approved vaccine against rabies. It is supported by 30 years of clinical research and experience. It is indicated in persons bitten by suspect rabid animals (PEP ) and non-immune subjects at risk of rabies (PrEP ).
About Aenon Pharmaceuticals SEA
Aenon Pharmaceuticals is a young company – established in 2015. However – it is staffed with people who have extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector. Our key people have successful careers with top multinational healthcare and pharmaceutical companies. They have decades of experience working in specialties like obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics, dermatology, orthopaedics and travel medicine.

“Aenon” is a Greek word for “spring” or “natural fountain”. Natural fountains are associated with health and healing. Aenon Pharmaceuticals’ goal is to improve human health and provide healing through products that we sell. We aim to be a successful and reliable partner for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies who are looking for a nimble and capable partner in Southeast Asia.

Aenon Pharmaceuticals carefully selects the products to introduce into our markets. We let doctors evaluate prospective products. We get insights from both doctors and patients before deciding which products to introduce. We want to be sure that each product adds significant value. Our products should address specific health challenges or unmet needs. They should have clear advantages over existing products and therapies. To date, we have licensing agreements with seven international firms. We continue to explore opportunities to bring other useful products to our doctors and end-users.