Serum Institute gets Genticel's Vaxiclase tech to develop pertussis vaccine

With recent news of clinical trials for its low-cost HPV vaccine, the Serum Institute made waves in the world of Big Pharma. The India-based vaccinemaker--which is also working on other low-cost vaccines, such as a powdered measles vaccine--is now gearing up to challenge the world's leading vaccinemakers in another area: pertussis.

French biotech Genticel announced Monday that it has licensed its Vaxiclase technology to Serum for use in developing multivalent vaccines containing pertussis antigens. Serum will pay Genticel up to $57 million in upfront and milestone payments. Further financial details of the preclinical-stage license agreement were not disclosed.

Genticel CEO Benedikt Timmerman

"This deal opens an entirely new field of applications for Vaxiclase, which complements our core activities in the HPV field," Benedikt Timmerman, Genticel's CEO, said in a statement. "Besides this deal's commercial interest, we are proud to be associated with a development program that may lead to one of the most widely supplied combination vaccines worldwide. Moreover, the deal will also provide Genticel with access to improved production methods that the Serum Institute may implement on our Vaxiclase platform. Given Serum's extensive experience and track record in this area, this is of strategic value to Genticel."

Sanofi's ($SNY) pentavalent PENTAct-HIB--which protects against polio and Haemophilus influenzae as well as diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis--was the third-best selling vaccine in 2013, while GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) Pediarix took the No. 6 spot.

Serum's license covers all countries, with the exception of major pharmaceutical markets: the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Israel, Turkey and greater Europe. But this may not be much of a setback for Serum, which focuses on affordable vaccines for the developing world. It plans to have its DTaP candidate, already in the pipeline, on the market within the next two years.

- here's the release

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