Merck, Sanofi commence late-stage trial for childhood diseases vaccine

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Merck and Sanofi Pasteur have started a late-stage clinical trial of a combination vaccine for six childhood diseases, the companies said Thursday.

The companies announced a phase-3 trial of the vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, hepatitis B and invasive disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b. The trial will involve about 1,440 infants at multiple centers, with the primary goal of assessing safety and immunogenicity compared with Pfizer’s pneumococcal disease vaccine Prevnar 13 and Merck’s rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq.

“Combination vaccines simplify the childhood immunization schedule and may improve coverage [and] on-time vaccination, and [may] reduce the number of injections for children,” University of Louisville School of Medicine professor of pediatrics Gary Marshall said on behalf of the companies.

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