On December 2018, Brazil’s Butantan Institute signed a technological transfer deal with US pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp and Dhome (MSD) to help the Brazilian institute develop and export a vaccine against dengue fever.

The agreement includes $25 million to be paid up front, which makes the transaction the biggest of its kind in the history of Brazil’s pharmaceutical industry. The institute, linked to São Paulo State Secretariat for Health, may also receive up to $101 million, to go towards vaccine research and production.

A sum of R$ 120 million from the National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) enabled Butantan Institute to develop the

dengue vaccine—currently in its third stage in clinical research, i.e. human testing. This is the last phase before applying for registration. The funds from BNDES also made it possible for the institute to create an innovative freeze-drying method, with patents granted in several countries.

The process turns the vaccine into powder, to be rebuilt before application, cutting storage costs and making transport easier, so more people can be served, especially those living further away.

The contract with Butantan Institute stipulates the transfer of five percent of revenues stemming from the deal, including the trading of the vaccine to be developed by MSD overseas. On the other hand, the vaccine may be made available to Brazilians for free at public hospitals thanks to its exclusivity rights for Brazil.