Through an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement, Stellar Biotechnologies has gained access to patented technology for the development of human immunotherapies against Clostridium difficile infection, developed by investigators at the University of Guelph.
The Port Hueneme, CA-based firm—which is best known for manufacturing keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), an immune-stimulating protein used in therapeutics and diagnostics—said it will be using the immunotherapy technology to develop, manufacture, and market vaccines to treat C. diff infection. Stellar added that the licensing agreement also covers includes human diagnostic applications.
Under the terms of the agreement, Stellar will pay Guelph license fees in a combination of cash, stock and warrants, and milestone payments upon the achievement of set financing, development, and sales targets. It will also pay out royalties on revenues and reimburse patent costs.
The firm added that, while working under an option agreement executed in 2012, Stellar and Guelph researchers showed in preclinical studied that conjugate vaccines combining the university’s technology with its KLH protein as an adjuvant can protect against primary and secondary C. diff infection.
Today’s agreement "opens significant new opportunities for Stellar and is an excellent fit in our goal to secure complementary technologies for strategic expansion," President and CEO Frank Oakes said in a statement. "We hold the world's leading technology for sustainable manufacture of KLH protein and now we have a strong platform for Stellar's first proprietary, active immunotherapy program."