MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Daiichi Sankyo, UMN Pharma to collaborate on norovirus vaccine research

Japanese pharmaceutical companies Daiichi Sankyo Company, Ltd., and UMN Pharma, Inc., recently announced a collaborative research agreement for a norovirus vaccine.

Under the terms of the agreement, UMN Pharma will provide a recombinant norovirus virus-like particle antigen to Daiichi Sankyo. The antigen was produced using UMN Pharma's cell-culture manufacturing method, which employs the baculovirus expression vector system, a next-generation technology platform for manufacturing biopharmaceutical products.

Upon receiving the VLP antigen, Daiichi Sankyo will conduct research to determine if a norovirus vaccine can be developed through the novel technology.

The two pharmaceutical companies will further negotiate for the development of a vaccine if results of the research meet certain criteria. UMN Pharma will also provide Daiichi Sankyo with exclusive access to the VLP antigen and grant the right to negotiate exclusively for additional partnership during the research agreement period.

"Bringing together the innovative technologies that each company possesses, Daiichi Sankyo and UMN Pharma will contribute to the enrichment of the quality of life in Japan and globally through research and development of new vaccines," the companies said.

According to UMN Pharma and Daiichi Sankyo, norovirus causes approximately 200,000 deaths of children in developing countries annually. It is one of the leading causes of infectious gastroenteritis and the number of infected people reported is growing in Japan and throughout the world.

There is no approved vaccine to protect against norovirus.