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GEN News Highlights : Dec 19, 2012

GSK Teams with GlycoVaxyn on New Bacterial Vaccines

GlycoVaxyn entered a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (GSK) to develop new bacterial vaccines employing GlycoVaxyn’s bioconjugation technology. The agreement includes a set of pathogen targets. GSK will have the option to obtain an exclusive license on these targets during the three-year term of the deal and to extend both the term as well as scope of the collaboration. GlycoVaxyn will receive an up-front payment and an equity investment, and the firm is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on licensed vaccine candidates.

“GlycoVaxyn’s technology is designed to enable or improve the development of anti-bacterial conjugate vaccines by in vivo synthesis of protein-polysaccharide complexes in E. coli, via recombinant DNA technology,” said Michael Wacker, co-founder and CSO of GlycoVaxyn. “This technology could potentially broaden the range of anti-bacterial vaccines as we target our vaccine development to previously unattainable bacterial pathogens.”

The firms have separately been involved in the bacterial vaccine space for some time. In 2010, GlycoVaxyn and researchers at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital received $3.4 million in NIH funding to support preclinical development of a biconjugate vaccine against Staphylococcus aureus infections. GSK produces vaccines for several bacterial infections including tetanus and typhoid fever. The firm has an S. aureus vaccine candidate that it purchased from Nabi Biopharmaceuticals in November 2009. Also, earlier this year, FDA approved GlaxoSmithKline’s MenHibrix® for preventing meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups C and Y and Hemophilus influenzae type b in children.