When Johnson & Johnson handed over €302 million for an 18 percent stake in Crucell last year, the two companies signed off on an ambitious new vaccines venture, with the Dutch biotech company committing to the development of a universal flu vaccine and three new vaccine R&D projects that would be decided later. Today, Crucell named the first of those three program initiatives, outlining plans to discover and develop a universal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine with J&J.
"A vaccine that prevents severe RSV infections and death in infants will be a tremendous advance for the pediatric vaccine field," Chief Executive Ronald Brus said in a statement. "We expect that an RSV vaccine will be the next frontier in children's vaccines for inclusion in the routine immunization of newborns. Based on our continuously growing experience in the respiratory field, as well as our in-house expertise, we are confident that we can make great strides towards our goal of a best-in-class RSV vaccine."
Crucell went on to describe RSV as "the last of the major pediatric diseases for which no preventive vaccine is available." Physicians now rely on an antibody therapy for treatment of high-risk infants.
- here's the Crucell release
- and here's the Reuters story