Acquired in vitro models of the human immune system are expected to help in vaccine development.

Sanofi Pasteur signed a binding agreement for the acquisition of VaxDesign for $55 million up front and $5 million with realization of a development milestone. The firm develops, manufactures, and markets in vitro models of the human immune system.

VaxDesign is the developer of the Modular IMmune In-vitro Construct (MIMIC®) technology, which is built to capture genetic and environmental diversity. Based on data generated in a surrogate human immune system, it allows earlier selection of the optimal product candidate as opposed to using animal models before studies in human trials, according to the companies. 

“MIMIC is the most-advanced platform in the field,” declares Michel DeWilde, Ph.D., svp, R&D, Sanofi Pasteur. “With this novel model for understanding mechanisms of action, the probability of clinical success increases and the time to market should decrease. MIMIC successfully reproduced our own clinical data and is adaptable for the evaluation of multiple diseases and corresponding patient populations. This platform will provide a significant competitive advantage in the development of vaccines.”

VaxDesign is a privately held company based in Orlando, FL. The MIMIC system was initially developed for the Rapid Vaccine Assessment Program of DARPA and has since been funded by several other U.S. federal agencies such as the DTRA, BARDA, Army Chemical Biological Medical Systems, and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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