Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium signs commercial license deal with Vivalis

OXFORD, United Kingdom; ROCKVILLE, Md.; and NANTES, France — The Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium Ltd., a joint venture between the University of Oxford and Emergent BioSolutions Inc., announced May 5, 2009, the signing of a commercial license agreement with Vivalis to evaluate large-scale commercial production capabilities for MVA85A, the consortium’s new TB vaccine candidate.

Under the commercial agreement, the consortium will explore production of MVA85A using the Vivalis proprietary EB66 cell line, which is derived from duck embryonic stem cells. This cell line possesses unique industrial and regulatory characteristics such as long-term genetic stability and immortality, growth in serum-free medium, and proliferation at high cell densities in suspension.

“We are pleased that the Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium was able to enter into this agreement with Vivalis to support the production of MVA85A, the most clinically advanced TB vaccine candidate targeting one of the world’s deadliest diseases,” said Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and CEO of Emergent BioSolutions.

The consortium recently announced the commencement of a Phase IIb clinical trial to evaluate MVA85A in approximately 2,784 children younger than 1 year old in South Africa. It is expected that the trial will generate important safety, immunogenicity and preliminary efficacy data about the vaccine candidate.

The commercial license includes an upfront payment to Vivalis as well as development milestone payments and royalties on future sales of the TB candidate.

Vivalis is a French biopharmaceutical company that provides cell-based solutions to the pharmaceutical industry for the manufacture of vaccines and proteins, and develops drugs for the prevention and treatment of viral diseases.

The Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium Ltd. is a joint venture between the University of Oxford and Emergent Product Development UK Ltd. The MVA85A TB vaccine was licensed by Isis Innovation, Oxford's technology transfer company, to the consortium in July 2008.

Emergent BioSolutions is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacture and commercialization of vaccines and therapeutics. Its development pipeline includes programs focused on anthrax, botulism, tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis B and Chlamydia. Its BioThrax is the only vaccine licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of anthrax.

The University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division is one of the largest biomedical research centers in Europe.