Immune Design could earn $212 million in milestones plus sales royalties.

MedImmune negotiated an exclusive worldwide license to use Immune Design’s (IDC) glycopyranosyl lipid adjuvant (GLA) as a component in vaccines for specific infectious diseases. In return IDC will receive an up-front license fee and potential development, regulatory, and commercial milestones of up to $212 million, plus related sales royalties.

GLA is a clinical-stage human toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4) agonist that has been rationally designed to optimally activate human TLR-4 receptors, induce Th1 CD4 helper cells, and elicit broad humoral immunity. IDC claims the adjuvant is compatible with most antigens, and as a pure synthetic small molecule is easy to manufacture and demonstrates excellent stability.

The firm is developing its own pipeline of vaccine candidates formulated with the GLA adjuvant. It says a Phase I trial combining GLA with Fluzone® has already confirmed the adjuvant to be safe and well tolerated.

First funded in 2008, IDC is focused on the development of therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of infectious and malignant disease. In combination with its GLA technology, the firm is developing a novel viral vector platform, DC-NILV (dendritic cell targeting non-integrating lentivirus vector), which was designed to control the activation and context of antigen presentation by dendritic cells in order to shape the desired adaptive immune responses. The platform is initially being progressed into clinical development for cancer indications of significant unmet need.

In July IDC secured $32 million in a Series B financing round led by ProQuest Investments and joined by the firm’s existing investors: IDC has raised $50 million since its inception in 2008.

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