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GEN News Highlights : Sep 15, 2011

VBI Acquires Epixis for VLP Vaccines Capabilities

Deal closes a year after partners initiated a collaboration focused on CMV.

VBI Vaccines has completed the acquisition of Epixis, a French company developing virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines on its eVLP platform. The acquisition is complementary to VBI’s suite of thermostable vaccine formulation technologies and enables VBI to develop its own VLP-based vaccines.

The deal comes more than a year after VBI forged a VLP research collaboration with Epixis focused on cytomegalovirus (CMV). Launched in June 2010, the companies said their collaboration made significant research advances that led to the acquisition and that a VLP vaccine for CMV will now be VBI’s priority candidate.

VBI says that it will also advance a hepatitis C vaccine candidate. Previously, Epixis demonstrated successful proof of concept for its eVLP platform with a vaccine targeting hepatitis C virus; results were published in Science Translational Medicine.

“Our proof of concept and preclinical findings have been extremely promising in both CMV and hepatitis C, and we believe clearly demonstrate the value of the eVLP platform,” says Charlotte Dalba, PhD, MBA, former CEO of Epixis and now a senior consultant with VBI.

Founded in 2001, VBI—formerly Variation Biotecnologies—has developed technologies for the development of thermostable injected and oral vaccines. The vaccines can withstand 12 months of storage or shipment at constantly fluctuating temperatures ranging from -5° C to 40° C.