FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Hawaii Biotech acquires WNV technology from Merck

Hawaii Biotech, Inc., a Hawaii-based biotechnology company, announced on Thursday the acquisition of a West Nile virus vaccine technology patent family and a non-exclusive license to recombinant protein expression technology from a Merck subsidiary.

Hawaii Biotech is focused on the development of recombinant protein subunit vaccines for infectious diseases, including WNV. HBI obtained the rights to the technology from Merck, which is known as MSD outside Canada and the United States.

"This transaction will enable HBI to continue the development of our vaccine for West Nile virus, an important emerging infectious disease," Elliot Parks, the CEO of HBI, said. "It is a significant milestone for Hawaii Biotech. We appreciate the cooperation we have received from Merck, and we look forward to continuing the clinical development of this vaccine candidate."

HBI recently completed successful first-in-human Phase I clinical studies with both WNV and dengue vaccines in healthy human subjects.

In addition to research and development related to WNV, HBI is currently engaged in the development of a Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever vaccine at its Aiea facility on Oahu, Hawaii. The vaccine development is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The biotechnology company is also developing a malaria vaccine in collaboration with researchers at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and a tick-borne flavivirus vaccine.