GSK teams with GlycoVaxyn to develop anti-bacterial vaccines

In another collaboration, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), a pharma giant that's no stranger to roping in smaller biotechs for vaccine research, will pair up with GlycoVaxyn to develop new anti-bacterial vaccines.

GlycoVaxyn, a Swiss biopharmaceutical company, will bring to the table its bioconjugate vaccine technology. The company is employing a new technology to engineer a different type of conjugate vaccine that can be used to combat bacterial infections. Ultimately, the approach will potentially broaden the range of anti-bacterial vaccines, Michael Wacker, co-founder and chief scientific officer of GlycoVaxyn, said in a statement.

The agreement between the companies includes a set of pathogen targets on which GSK retains the option to obtain an exclusive license during the three-year term of the partnership. And GSK can choose to extend the length and scope of that collaboration.

In return, GlycoVaxyn will land an undisclosed upfront payment and an equity investment. The biopharma can also shoot for milestone payments and royalties on licensed vaccine candidates.

"This first collaboration with a vaccine industry leader confirms the potential of our platform to generate new complex vaccines," said Philippe Dro, CEO of GlycoVaxyn. "It was made possible because of our shared passion for innovation and discovering vaccines. We are looking forward to working with GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals to develop and bring to market important new vaccines that have the potential to save or change the lives of millions of people."

GlycoVaxyn's lead vaccine target is Shigella dysenteriae, a bacterial pathogen that causes travelers' diarrhea. The company is also taking aim at Staphylococcus aureus and uropathogenic E. coli, with candidates in preclinical development.

GSK has been known to do its fair share of collaborating with smaller companies. In October, it partnered with Aeras to test a tuberculosis vaccine in Africa and India. And Antigenics ($AGEN) supplied GSK with an adjuvant for one of its vaccines in 2010.

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