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May 26, 2010

Pevion to Use Cevec’s Protein-Expression Technology for Infectious Disease Vaccine

  • Swiss vaccines company Pevion Biotech negotiated an exclusive license option agreement with Cevec Pharmaceuticals for the latter’s transient CAP-T™ expression technology. The platform is based on Cevec’s immortalized human amniocyte CAP cell line for stable protein production.

    The agreement gives Pevion exclusive use of the CAP-T system for the manufacture and commercialization of a protein antigen the firm is developing as a vaccine against a human infectious disease. Under the terms of the deal, Cevec will receive milestones once toxicological and clinical trials with the vaccine candidate have been initiated as well as potential future sales royalties.

    “The signing of this agreement is a major milestone for Cevec since it represents our first exclusively granted license for a clinically highly relevant protein produced in our CAP cells,” comments Rainer Lichtenberger, Ph.D., CEO. The deal with Pevion follows less than a month after Cevec signed a strategic license agreement with contract research and development company Aragen Bioscience. The deal, covering Cevec’s CAP and CAP-T platforms, will allow Aragen to offer its clients custom recombinant human cell lines expressing biotherapeutic proteins and antibodies as well as the transient and stable production of preclinical- and clinical-grade material.

    Cevec claims its CAP and CAP-T expression platforms allow the efficient production of biologics including complex and difficult-to-express biopharmaceutical molecules with human glycosylation patterns. The company offers the technology through license agreements.

    Cevec says that it is also developing an early-stage pipeline of difficult-to-express, commercially attractive proteins. The lead molecule is recombinant human alkaline phosphatase, which Cevec is developing through a European consortium in partnership with Alloksys and Pharmacell. The firm says that initial clinical trials are expected to start in 2012.

    Cevec is in addition undertaking early preclinical development of other plasma proteins including human alpha antitrypsin (hAAT) and what it claims is the first fully human C-1 inhibitor. These products are open for licensing, Cevec adds.

    Pevion is focused on developing novel virosome-formulated prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines. The firm claims its technology makes it possible to formulate suitable antigens with virosomes and integrate them into a standardized vaccine development process.

    Pevion’s therapeutic breast cancer vaccine is in Phase II trials, and last month a Phase I trial was initiated with a vaccine against recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis or chronic recurrent thrush malaria.

    Pevion also has a malaria vaccine collaboration with Mymetics, which is approaching Phase III. Preclinical products in the firm’s pipeline include a universal influenza vaccine and a respiratory syncytial virus candidate. In 2007, the firm granted Mymetics an exclusive license to use the virosome-based technology platform for the development and production of an HIV vaccine.

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