Companies will collaborate on antibody discovery against multiple targets.

Vaccines company Sanofi Pasteur is paying Vivalis €3 million up front for exclusive access to the latter’s Humalex® platform for the discovery of human monoclonal antibodies against a number of infectious disease targets. The licensing and collaboration agreement between the firms gives Sanofi Pasteur exclusive development and commercialization rights for antibodies discovered and will fund the collaborative research. Vivalis could receive development milestones of up to €35 million per infectious disease.

“Vivalis’ Humalex technology allows rapid identification of clinically relevant fully human antibodies as well as their cognate antigen,” comments Michel de Wilde, senior vp of R&D at Sanofi Pasteur. “This opens up new medical solutions to prevent or treat serious infections.”

Vivalis offers cell-based solutions for the manufacture of vaccines and proteins and is developing drugs to prevent and treat viral diseases. The firm acquired the Humalex technology through its buyout of France-based Humalys in January. Vivalis claims the platform offers a potent platform for the discovery of fully human mAbs produced by activated and immortalized B lymphocytes isolated from selected human donors. “This is the first major commercial agreement on the Humalex platform,” remarks Franck Grimaud, CEO. “Vivalis is today one of the very few companies able to propose a fully integrated offering from the discovery of fully human monoclonal antibodies to the production of clinical batches.”

In April the company reported the achievement of a milestone in an ongoing collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals for the development of new influenza vaccines based on Vivalis’ flagship EB66® cell-line platform. Offered through commercial license agreements for the production of vaccines and therapeutic proteins, the EB66 cell-line technology is derived from chicken and duck embryonic stem cells. Vivalis claims the cell lines display unique properties, including growth in suspension in serum-free medium, the achievement of very high cell densities in batch and fed-batch bioreactors, and the cells’ inherent genetic stability and immortality.

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