BOXMEER, The Netherlands and LONDON, September 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Nobilon International B.V., part of Organon, the human health care business unit of Akzo Nobel, and Protherics PLC, the international biopharmaceutical company focused on critical care and cancer, today announced that Nobilon has licensed Protherics' CoVaccine HT(TM) adjuvant for use in pandemic influenza vaccines, and seasonal influenza vaccines in elderly people.
More than 300 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine are produced each year globally, leaving a considerable shortfall in the event of a pandemic influenza outbreak. A powerful adjuvant, such as CoVaccine(TM), may reduce the amount of antigen required in a pandemic influenza vaccine, enabling rapid, large scale production in the event of a pandemic influenza outbreak and for planned stockpiling. In addition, the CoVaccine HT(TM) adjuvant may increase the potency of a seasonal influenza vaccine for elderly people, with impaired immune systems.
The licensing agreement gives Nobilon the exclusive, global rights excluding the US, to develop, manufacture and commercialize two new influenza vaccines containing CoVaccine HT(TM). Protherics will receive an upfront payment from Nobilon on signing the agreement. Protherics is also entitled to receive success related milestone payments and royalty payments on net sales by Nobilon.
Also announced today, Nobilon and a consortium of leading European vaccine experts has received a EUR3.5 million grant to help fund the development of a pandemic influenza vaccine containing CoVaccine HT(TM).
Han van den Bosch, director Research and Development of Nobilon commented: "We are delighted to have gained exclusive access to CoVaccine HT, a promising new adjuvant from Protherics, for use in our flu vaccines. The very encouraging results in preclinical experiments using Nobilon's influenza antigen produced by cell culture and Protherics' CoVaccine adjuvant, justifies further clinical development."
Andrew Heath, Chief Executive of Protherics commented: "The agreement with Nobilon today supports our excitement about the prospects for our CoVaccine HT adjuvant, which we are also incorporating in our Angiotensin Therapeutic Vaccine. We also have considerable interest from other external parties to use our adjuvant in their vaccines across a range of other potential indications."
About the CoVaccine HT(TM) Adjuvant
An adjuvant is a substance which enhances the immune response and so helps maximise the production of antibodies. The CoVaccine HT(TM) adjuvant is a sucrose fatty acid sulphate ester that increases both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses to experimental vaccines following intramuscular administration. In nonclinical studies, the adjuvant has been well-tolerated with no limiting local toxicity, and has produced encouraging immune responses.
Nobilon International BV, part of Organon, a biopharmaceutical business unit of Akzo Nobel, was founded in 2003. It has production and R&D facilities in Boxmeer and Oss, the Netherlands. The biotechnology company is dedicated to develop, produce and market human vaccines against infectious diseases, building on existing expertise within sister companies Intervet and Organon. Nobilon focuses on respiratory and traveler's diseases. One of its core expertises is large scale cell culture production of viruses, including influenza. Nobilon currently employs approximately 75 staff in production and R&D. http://www.nobilon.com
Protherics (LSE: PTI, NASDAQ: PTIL) is a leading biopharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacture and marketing of specialised products for critical care and cancer. The Company's strategy is to use the revenues generated from its marketed and out-licensed products to help fund the advancement of its broad, late stage pipeline. Protherics has a strong cash position, with unaudited cash balances at 30 June 2007 of GBP45m. With headquarters in London, the Company has approximately 270 employees across its operations in the UK, US and Australia. For further information visit: http://www.protherics.com
Safe Harbor Statement Organon(i)
This press release may contain statements which address such key issues as growth strategy, future financial results, market positions, product development, pharmaceutical products in the pipeline, and product approvals of Organon. Such statements should be carefully considered, and it should be understood that many factors could cause forecasted and actual results to differ from these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, price fluctuations, currency fluctuations, progress of drug development, clinical testing and regulatory approval, developments in raw material and personnel costs, pensions, physical and environmental risks, legal issues, and legislative, fiscal, and other regulatory measures. Stated competitive positions are based on management estimates supported by information provided by specialized external agencies. For a more comprehensive discussion of the risk factors affecting our business please see our Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, a copy of which can be found on the company's corporate website http://www.akzonobel.com.
(i) Pursuant to the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act 1995.
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