Dutch biotechnology company Crucell and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) have signed an exclusive license agreement to develop an AIDS vaccine based on Crucell’s AdVac® technology. Crucell expects to receive development funding and substantial upfront, annual and milestone payments, as well as royalties on future HIV vaccine sales. Further financial details were not disclosed.
The AdVac® vectors, adenovirus serotypes 11 and 35, have shown promising results as vectors for AIDS vaccines in a series of studies by Crucell in collaboration with Harvard Medical School. AdVac® technology is also being applied by Crucell in the production of a malaria vaccine in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the NIH, as well as a TB vaccine in collaboration with the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation.
“As part of IAVI’s continuing effort to expand and improve the development pipeline, we are pleased to work with Crucell in applying their critical technology to help advance the development of an AIDS vaccine,” said Emilio Emini, IAVI’s Senior Vice President, Vaccine Development.
“This agreement confirms the value of AdVac® technology for the development of vaccines,” said Jaap Goudsmit, Crucell’s Chief Scientific Officer. “We are proud to be able to contribute to the fight against HIV and are confident that by adding this agreement to the PER.C6®-based HIV vaccine candidate of Merck, our technologies are now supporting two of the programs best positioned to bring an AIDS vaccine to the market.”
According to the World Health Organization, almost 5 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2003 – the greatest number in any one year since the beginning of the epidemic. Globally, it is estimated that 38 million people are now living with HIV. More than 20 million people have died of AIDS since the first cases were identified in 1981.