In a precursor to this year's $85 million deal with Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Janssen, San Diego's Ichor Medical Systems last year forged a similar partnership with Pfizer ($PFE) to promote its DNA vaccine delivery device, the first of its kind, using electroporation to make those vaccines more effective.
In the deal, which is for an undisclosed amount, Pfizer signed with Ichor to use the San Diego company's TriGrid intramuscular electroporation system, a device that creates temporary pores in cell membranes to allow vaccines to become more thoroughly entrenched, boosting their efficiency. Pfizer has a hand in cancer vaccine-based immunotherapy research, and the Big Pharma player wants to incorporate the TriGrid into that program.
TriGrid's technology incorporates a pattern of interlocking electrodes around a needle that deliver plasmid DNA in combination with electrical pulses that distribute the payload via intramuscular or intradermal injection. This is thought to improve the dose's efficiency and reduce the risk of tissue damage when using DNA vaccines, which have shown limited efficacy with traditional injections.
|Ichor Medical Systems' TriGrid electroporation device--Courtesy of Ichor|
"We are pleased to be collaborating with Ichor in the application of its technology for Pfizer's investigational therapeutic cancer vaccine-based immunotherapy programs," James Merson, senior VP and CSO of Pfizer's Vaccine Immunotherapeutics Research Unit, said at the time. "Therapeutic vaccine-based immunotherapies hold considerable promise to potentially extend or improve the lives of patients with many different types of cancer."
Recently, Ichor linked up with Janssen to deliver the company's hepatitis B vaccine. Ichor stands to earn up to $85 million in milestones, plus royalties. Ichor has also teamed up with the U.S. government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to test the TriGrid technology in delivering antibodies for passive immunoprophylaxis.
-- Michael Gibney (email | Twitter)
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