Company also gained rights to first negotiation for a preclinical RSV program.

Novartis paid AlphaVax $20 million for an exclusive license to its early-stage cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine program. The upfront fee also includes rights of first negotiation to AlphaVax’ preclinical respiratory syncytial virus program.

Under the terms of the agreement AlphaVax is responsible for Phase I development, and will provide clinical material for the Phase II trials. Novartis will handle further development, registration, and worldwide commercialization.

The vaccine candidate is based on an alphavirus replicon particle encoding CMV phosphoprotein 65, IE1 (immediate early protein 1) and soluble gB protein. Novartis has an option to make an equity investment at the end of Phase II trials for four million shares. The firm also agreed to pay AlphaVax milestones and royalties.

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