Crucell, the Dutch biotechnology company, "said on Tuesday it had agreed with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline [GSK] to jointly develop a malaria vaccine candidate, without disclosing financial details," Reuters reports (Gray-Block, 4/6).
In a press release, Crucell said it signed a "binding letter of agreement" with GSK "to collaborate on developing a second generation malaria vaccine candidate" (4/6). According to Reuters, the agreement is an extension of a 2003 partnership between the two companies and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research that focused on evaluating "Crucell's malaria vaccine candidate in pre-clinical studies."
"Crucell said on Tuesday pre-clinical data indicated greatly enhanced immune responses against the malaria parasite when Crucell's Adenovirus [AdVac] technology and GSK's RTS,S/AS technology are used in combination, versus either component alone," the news service writes. Crucell and GSK plan to start human trials and will look for additional funding from another source to move forward with clinical trials in the U.S. "Pending the results of the trial, the companies expect to advance the candidate in further clinical studies with the support of public or non-profit partners," Reuters reports (4/6).
"Malaria currently represents one of the most prevalent infections in tropical and subtropical areas, causing close to 900,000 deaths every year, mostly amongst children," Ronald Brus, Crucell's CEO, said in the press release. "I am confident a partnership of this kind will allow us to take a vital step towards our goal of bringing meaningful innovation to global health" (4/6).