Intercell AG (VSE: ICLL) today announced that it has signed an agreement with Cytos Biotechnology Ltd. to acquire Cytos' platform technology for monoclonal antibody discovery. The technology is based on expression cloning of monoclonal antibodies from human B-cells and enables the identification of anti-infective antibodies to prevent and treat infectious diseases.
Under the agreed terms Intercell will pay EUR 15 million to Cytos. Intercell will own certain unpartnered monoclonal antibody assets, including promising pre-clinical anti-infective antibody candidates discovered by Cytos. The key scientists, who have very successfully developed the technology at Cytos, will be employed by Intercell. The antibody technology complements Intercell's technology platforms and opens novel medically and commercially relevant applications for Intercell's Antigen Identification Program (AIP®). The AIP® has delivered promising vaccine candidates against Staphylococcus aureus (Phase II/III) and Pneumococcus (Phase I) infections, among others, and has also been the basis for partnerships in the antibody field with Merck & Co. and Kyowa Hakko Kirin in these indications, respectively.
In its future antibody discovery activities Intercell will focus on medically and commercially attractive AIP® derived disease targets including Group B Streptococcus and bacteria involved in hospital acquired infections.
"Cytos' outstanding antibody technology complements our innovative R&D technology platform and enables pipeline progression within our existing portfolio," stated Gerd Zettlmeissl, Chief Executive Officer of Intercell.
Wolfgang Renner, CEO of Cytos, commented: "Intercell, as a leading anti-infective company, is ideally positioned through its Antigen Identification Program (AIP®), to capture the full value of our monoclonal antibody discovery platform. We are very glad that our technology will support Intercell in discovering important new monoclonal antibodies to combat infectious diseases."
Monoclonal antibodies form one of the fastest growing segments of the pharmaceutical industry. The global monoclonal antibodies market was valued at USD 27.4bn in 2008, indicating a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of almost 30% between 2000 and 2008.
"Antibodies can be extremely effective for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. For example, the increasing rate of antibiotic resistance among certain types of nosocomial pathogens makes it extremely difficult to control hospital acquired infectious diseases in critical situations. Anti-infective antibodies, well known in the medical arena before the advent of antibiotic treatments, have experienced a comeback and monoclonal antibody products are expected to contribute to the control of severe infections that otherwise might be untreatable in the future," explained Eszter Nagy, Senior Vice President Research at Intercell.