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September 13, 2012

DNA Immunization Platform Licensed for Antibody Production

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb negotiated a nonexclusive license to use Vical’s DNA immunization technology and Vaxfectin® adjuvant for the production of therapeutic antibodies. Vical is focused on the application of its plasmid-based DNA delivery technology for the development of an in-house and partnered pipeline of infectious disease and cancer vaccines, and plasmid-delivered angiogenic growth factors for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

    Lead Phase III-stage candidate Allovectin® (or Allovectin-7®) is a first-in-class plasmid DNA-based immunotherapeutic expressing the MHC class 1 complex genes, which is designed to stimulate both innate and adaptive immune responses in local tumors and distal metastases. Allovectin is initially in development for the first-line treatment of Stage III and IV melanoma. Lead partnered product, TransVax™ is a first-in-class pivotal trails-stage DNA vaccine designed to prevent reactivation of latent cytomegalovirus (CMV) or introduction of the virus through donor cells or tissues in transplant recipients. Astellas negotiated an exclusive, worldwide license to develop and commercialize TransVax for the control and prevention of cytomegalovirus infection in immunocompromised patients (including transplant recipients and transplant donors) in 2011.

    The firm says the latest deal with BMS highlights a key application of the DNA immunization technology. “DNA immunization has been used widely in the research setting as an efficient means of antibody production,” explains Vijay B. Samant, Vical president and CEO. “This agreement represents a meaningful step toward monetizing a common use of our broadly applicable IP asset, and establishes a template for additional agreements with others working in the field.”

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