MedImmune licenses reverse genetics technology to Novartis

MedImmune, Inc. has announced that it has licensed its proprietary reverse genetics intellectual property to Novartis to support the development and construction of new vaccine strains to produce inactivated human seasonal, pre-pandemic and pandemic influenza vaccines.

Reverse genetics is a method by which viruses such as influenza can be generated from segments of DNA. For prospective pandemic influenza vaccines, reverse genetics can be a useful technology because the process does not require manufacturers to work directly with potentially highly infectious pandemic strains, such as H5N1, rather only segments of the virus's genome.

Most influenza vaccine manufacturing companies and governmental agencies are now using reverse genetics technology in their development of pandemic vaccine candidates because it allows them to avoid working directly with the infectious, circulating pandemic strains. As the owner or exclusive licensee of the key patent estates for use of the reverse genetics technology in human influenza vaccines, MedImmune remains committed to making sure that the technology is accessible to government institutions and industry manufacturers. As such, the company has offered other influenza vaccine manufacturers non-exclusive licenses to this intellectual property estate for use in manufacturing seasonal or pandemic vaccines.

"MedImmune is pleased to have now entered into reverse genetics licensing agreements with three leaders in influenza vaccine development and manufacturing," said Jonathan Klein-Evans, J.D., MedImmune's vice president, intellectual property. "With each new license that expands access to this important technology, the world is advancing its pandemic preparedness as we apply new tools such as reverse genetics to improve and streamline the influenza vaccine development process."

MedImmune will receive an upfront payment and has the potential to receive royalties on certain vaccine stockpiles or sales of other influenza products developed using the reverse genetics technology.

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