Joint Venture to Develop Broad-Spectrum Pandemic Flu Vaccine


Temasek Life Science Ventures Pte Ltd (TLV) and Emergent BioSolutions Inc. today announced their agreement to form EPIC BIO Pte Ltd, a joint venture to develop, manufacture and commercialize a multivalent, cross-protective human vaccine to protect against influenza caused by a broad range of circulating H5 influenza strains. The broad-spectrum pandemic flu vaccine is expected to be based on multiple antigens held by TLV and to be delivered as a single vaccine using Emergents MVAtorTM vaccine delivery platform. Completion of this joint venture is expected in the next few weeks.

The joint venture plans to initiate clinical manufacturing of the broad spectrum H5 vaccine candidate in 2011, with the clinical trial scheduled to begin in 2012. Some of the anticipated attributes and differentiating features of the broad-spectrum pandemic vaccine candidate include:

- Incorporating three H5HA antigens from divergent H5 strains within a single candidate, including the Vietnam (VN) strain on which most other pandemic vaccines are based

- Cell culture based manufacturing that is not dependent on chicken eggs

- Enabling long-term stability thus allowing for potential stockpiling of bulk vaccine

In addition to the H5 vaccine, the joint venture will develop monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of pandemic H5 influenza using TLVs monoclonal technology. It is anticipated that the monoclonal antibody candidate will offer broad protection against most circulating H5 influenza strains and will limit the ability of the virus to mutate and escape therapy.

Under the terms of the joint venture, both companies will contribute cash and intellectual property to the partnership. Emergent will have 60 percent ownership while TLV will hold 40 percent of the joint venture. EPIC BIO will be based in Singapore.

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