GlaxoSmithKline is establishing a 50/50 joint venture with Indian vaccines company Biological E to develop a six-in-one combination shot to protect children in developing countries from polio and other infectious diseases.

If approved, the vaccine, which would combine GSK’s injectable polio vaccine and Biological E’s pentavalent vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b, "could be the first of its kind", the firms said. They add that the vaccine would enable fewer injections, thereby improving compliance and the fully liquid formulation "also means it would be ready to use with no additional ingredients or materials required, freeing up space at local storage facilities".

The candidate vaccine is expected to enter Phase I in the next two years and "a small initial cash investment" will be made by both companies to cover start-up costs for the JV. Subsequent development costs will be split equally.

Vijay Kumar Datla, Biological E's chairman said the deal is "a validation of the investments we have made in vaccine technology and quality". The privately-held, Hyderabad-based company has been in business since 1953.

The JV launch comes a month after GSK teamed up with Vodafone to utilise innovative mobile technologies to protect more children from infectious diseases in Africa.