Syntiron, Sanofi-Pasteur to team up on MRSA vax

Minnesota biotech start-up Syntiron has inked a $149 million licensing deal with Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis. The partners plan to develop a vaccine against bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics, particularly Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The goal is to start selling the vaccine in the U.S. and Europe in three years, Syntiron CEO Joe Shaw tells MedCity News. Sanofi will pay Syntiron an upfront fee, research capital, and several milestone regulatory and commercial payments that could reach $149 million.

The Sanofi deal is a major coup for Syntiron, which spun out of Epitopix in 2004 to commercialize a vaccine technology that blocks the ability of pathogens to absorb iron from the host. Last year, Syntiron won a $3.8 million from the U.S. Defense Department to develop vaccines against biological weapons of mass destruction like anthrax and bubonic plague, according to the MedCity News article.

Word of the deal came a day after Sanofi announced it is expanding its Phase II clinical study of a vaccine against Clostridium difficile infection into the U.S. The trial started in the U.K. earlier this year. "This agreement with Syntiron is just another example of Sanofi Pasteur's interest in partnering with biotechs to produce innovative vaccines to address public health needs," Wayne Pisano, president and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur, says in a statement. "Along with our development of a vaccine to prevent Clostridium difficile infection, the successful development of a vaccine to prevent MRSA would be a major achievement in combating hospital-associated infections."

- read Sanofi's release about the Syntiron collaboration
- check out Sanofi's Clostridium difficile announcement
- here's the MedCity News coverage