VaxImmune will first be used in infectious diseases and Alzheimer’s in deal worth $37 million.

Merck & Co. licensed Coley Pharmaceutical Group’s VaxImmune™ vaccine adjuvant for incorporation into its own vaccines under development for certain infectious diseases and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Through their ability to boost the effectiveness of vaccines, adjuvant technologies, such as VaxImmune, have the potential to provide key product differentiators and contribute to the commercial success of vaccines,” notes Robert L. Bratzler, president and CEO for Coley Pharmaceutical Group.

Under the terms of the worldwide, nonexclusive license agreement, Merck will pay Coley an upfront license fee of $4 million. Coley is also eligible to receive milestone payments of up to $33 million as well as royalties from the sale of any products that are commercialized under the agreement. In addition to using it in infectious disease and Alzheimer’s disease, Merck has the right to add fields to the license.

VaxImmune is a Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist that induces an enhanced antigen-specific antibody response and a natural killer T-cell immune response when used in combination with prophylactic or therapeutic vaccines. It has been included in approximately 35 clinical trials of vaccines in development for various cancer indications, infectious diseases, and biowarfare defense, states Coley.

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