For the first time, Europe's largest drugs company, GSK, is starting the registration process for a vaccine from which it never expects to make money.
Globorix will only be used in Africa to prevent meningitis at prices that may never cover its research costs.
Experts say it is a sign big companies are changing their business practices, but some critics say it is not enough.
Millions of people in Africa are at risk from meningitis, which can kill a child in six hours.
The new vaccine, Globorix, cost more than $400 million (£204m) to develop, but will only be sold and used in Africa. It is aimed at meningitis A and C and will succeed an older vaccine called Titanrix - which covered hep B, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), diptheria and haemophilus influenza.
The company does not expect to get its money back.
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