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Jan 6, 2014

Astellas Signals Commitment to Building Vaccine Portfolio

  • Astellas Pharma is one step closer to achieving its goal of building a global vaccine franchise as a result of its recently inked collaboration with ClearPath Development Company. ClearPath has been brought on board to provide strategic guidance for Astellas’ endeavors.

    Last month, Astellas launched its first company, RSV Corporation (RSVC). Astellas will fund RSVC's development of a virosome vaccine technology, licensed from Mymetics, for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) through completion of a Phase IIb human proof-of-concept study.

    As part of the deal, Astellas received exclusive rights to acquire RSVC as well as further develop and commercialize the vaccine product. For its technology for RSV, Mymetics could receive upfront and post proof-of-concept milestone payments up to $82 million, as well as double digits royalties and other payments.

    "This partnership highlights our commitment to build a global vaccine business and represents a highly efficient model for bringing innovative vaccines to market. It is also a unique opportunity for Astellas to utilize external cutting edge science and technology to enhance our ability to generate innovative drugs, as part of the ‘Reshaping Research Framework’ program announced in May, 2013," said Kenji Yasukawa, svp and chief strategy officer, Astellas.

    Mymetics will collaborate with RSVC on the development of the vaccine, with Toon Stegmann Ph.D., CSO of Mymetics, remaining engaged on preclinical activities including nonclinical evaluation, formulation development, and manufacturing.



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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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