GSK's malaria vaccine has gained approval from the European Medicines Agency following a safety and efficacy review, and could soon be used for immunisation across sub-Saharan Africa.
Mosquirix, which is designed primarily for use on children, has taken GSK 30 years to develop and is the first Malaria vaccine to make it this far in the approval process.
It specifically targets the plasmodium falciparum parasite, which is the most common cause of the disease.
In 2013, Malaria caused the deaths of 584,000 people world wide, 90 per cent of whom were in sub-Saharan Africa.
The next stage will be for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to assess the vaccine and recommend how to put it to use in immunisation programmes.
The vaccine, also called RTS,S, won't transform the state of Malaria in Africa from all to nothing on its own, but it will be used alongside other remedies to make a significant difference.
Andrew Witty, chief executive of GSK, said:
Today’s scientific opinion represents a further important step towards making available for young children the world's first malaria vaccine.While RTS,S on its own is not the complete answer to malaria, its use alongside those interventions currently available such as bed nets and insecticides, would provide a very meaningful contribution to controlling the impact of malaria on children in those African communities that need it the most.
So far, GSK has invested more than £236m into the vaccine's development and expects to spend a further £130m to £160m.
It has not yet revealed how much it will be selling the vaccine for, but has vowed not to make a profit on it. This is reflected in the company's steady share price this morning, which is currently just 0.28 per cent higher at £13.61.