A history of the Hepatitis B vaccine

Speaker: Dr Farah Huzair # Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, University of Edinburgh

12th Oct 2015

15:30 - 17:00

Staff Room, 6th floor, Crystal Macmillan Building, George Square, University of Edinburgh

This presentation outlines the story of the first recombinant DNA vaccine, which was for hepatitis B. The story begins in the mid 70’s and takes us up to 1986 with FDA approval of a product by Merck.  It is the story of an Edinburgh laboratory, its collaborative relationships, and how it demonstrated a novel application of new sequencing methods. The history of the recombinant Hep B vaccine is also the story of Biogen, the first biotechnology company in Europe. The challenges faced by Biogen in the scale up and production of the vaccine were created by competition and international markets, but were countered by innovation. Data collected over the last 12 months for this Wellcome Trust funded project show that markets and intellectual property begin to shape strategies, innovation and the direction of science in the field of vaccines as early as 1979 with the application of biotechnology.

Speaker bio: