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European Vaccine Initiative Begins Third Decade Developing Vaccines for Diseases Against Poverty

Feature Article | February 12, 2018 by Scott Campbell

According to the World Health Organization, approximately half a million people die from malaria every year and hundreds of millions are at risk of exposure to a multitude of other poverty-related diseases all over the world.

Vaccines are an important weapon to combat these diseases and one SAP customer has spent the last 20 years leading efforts to develop effective, accessible, and affordable vaccines to thwart diseases of poverty. The European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) has helped 24 vaccine candidates progress into early clinical development, three of which have transitioned to other parties for mid-stage clinical development.

With an average vaccine development time of 10 to 12 years, the Heidelberg, Germany-based organization has made long, steady progress, but still needs all the help it can get, according to Odile Leroy, executive director of EVI.

“The goal is to someday create a world free of diseases of poverty. Our mission is to contribute to the many global efforts working to create the tools, that can accomplish this,” Leroy said. “EVI works with many governments, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, SMEs and academic institutions who are developing these vaccines for the ones who need it the most.”

Expanded Role as Needs Change

Among EVI’s successes are the support in the fast-track development of several vaccines, including Zika and Malaria virus vaccines. This capability coupled with decades of experience have allowed EVI to help companies in many countries developing vaccines. As an example, in the Asian market very few Chinese companies have managed to get their vaccines approved for deployment outside of China. EVI’s experience is an asset for these cases.

Currently, EVI is also collaborating on a possible universal flu vaccine and is in negotiations with two big pharmaceutical companies for the further development.

“Some companies can’t do all the necessary steps in the research process on their own, because they don’t have the resources or the expertise. Not every company can do everything, that’s where we can step in and help,” said Leroy.

New Technology, New Opportunities

EVI recently implemented SAP Business ByDesign with the help of SAP partner all4cloud to provide better fundraising management and reporting — critical needs for an organization that relies heavily on outside funding to continue its research and development.

“Fundraising has been become increasingly challenging over the years, as R&D costs have escalated,” Leroy said.

“This is a very competitive field and very hard work. In the early days, you’d pay a visit to a government ministry and present your portfolio and they’d give you money. Now you need a very strong application that describes clearly what you’re going to do and show how the money will be earmarked,” Leroy said. “There are very clear milestones and reports that have to go to donors. We have a lot of different donors and there’s a complexity to manage all their requirements because they each have different reporting and auditing needs. It’s not easy, but we’ve been doing it for 20 years.”

People Helping People

“The most important benefit from SAP Business ByDesign is not the savings from a money and time perspective. What mostly improved was our reporting standards and possibilities. We get all this information in real time. Before implementing SAP Business ByDesign, the available information was limited in scope and available only to the financial department, but now all project staff have access to all the information that they need for their purposes,” said Thorsten Kohaut, EVI’s finance manager.

Today, not only is EVI’s financial reporting streamlined and more efficient—important when you need to provide information to external funders—but this leads also to more time and resources available for the core development work.

“We are able to make decisions in real time. It has simplified the process of addressing bigger clinical trials and standardizing approaches. We can spend more time and money on scientific activities,” Leroy said.

For all4cloud, the SAP partner that worked on the project, that’s what it’s all about.

“EVI makes the world a better place. They make sure people in different countries have access to the vaccines that they need. They can better manage requests from all over the world,” said Henrik Hausen, all4cloud’s CEO. “It’s not about money or better reaction time, it’s about people helping people.”


SAP and our partners. Improving lives. That is our purpose.


 

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