Vax proves out 3-leg business model

Xcellerex's yellow fever vaccine is about to be tested in a Phase I study, marking a clinical-phase milestone for the company. The accomplishment also helps validate the company's disposable manufacturing technology, which is used in producing the vaccine, as well as the company's uncommon business model, according to President and CEO Joseph Zakrzewski.

"We'll be exploring options over the next several months with respect to the vaccine," Jon Lieber, CFO at Xcellerex, says of the XRX-001 vaccine in an interview. The vaccine targets the often fatal tropical virus yellow fever and is manufactured using the company's modular FlexFactory technology in tandem with the company's single-use bioreactor system. Unlike the currently available attenuated live vaccine that has rare but potentially serious adverse effects, the XRX-001 candidate is an inactivated virus vaccine adsorbed to alum adjuvant, according to an announcement. It should therefore reduce serious side effects. And the absence of foreign proteins derived from hens' eggs should also reduce allergic reactions.

The Xcellerex business model involves its three roles as disposable-technology supplier, proprietary biotherapeutics maker, and industry partner based on its contract manufacturing, product technology and drug pipeline activities.  Recent activities by the Marlborough, MA-based company include a deal last October in which vaccine specialist Novavax used the Xcellerex FlexFactory disposable manufacturing platform and contract manufacturing services to ramp up production of an H1N1 vaccine. A separate deal with specialty biopharma Itero involved disposable technology, contract manufacturing, and process development for protein molecules targeting niche markets.

- here's the announcement
- see our coverage of the Novavax and Itero deals