SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

Astellas partners with ClearPath on RSV vaccine

Astellas Pharma, Inc., a Tokyo, Japan-based pharmaceutical company, announced a partnership on Monday with ClearPath Development Company, a subsidiary of RRD International, to form a portfolio of vaccine development companies.

The partnership launched RSV Corporation in December, a company with the goal of developing a vaccine using virosome vaccine technology to protect against respiratory syncytial virus. Astellas will fund the RSV vaccine candidate through the completion of a Phase IIb human proof-of-concept study. RSVC licensed the virosome vaccine technology from the Switzerland-based Mymetics Corporation.

"This partnership highlights our commitment to build a global vaccine business and represents a highly efficient model for bringing innovative vaccines to market," Kenji Yasukawa, the senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Astellas, said. "It is also a unique opportunity for Astellas to utilize external cutting edge science and technology to enhance our ability to generate innovative drugs, as part of the 'Reshaping Research Framework' program announced in May."

The virosome vaccine consists of membrane nanoparticles that contain RSV viral surface proteins to target the immune system but lack the genetic material that would cause infection. Pre-clinical testing found the vaccine candidate generated strong immune responses and protection against RSV.

According to Astellas, RSV infects 64 million people around the world annually and causes 160,000 deaths each year. There is no vaccine currently available for the virus.

"Together we are harnessing our collective resources to accelerate development of this promising, early stage asset and will replicate this scalable, outcome driven model across future portfolio companies," Chuck Finn, the chairman of ClearPath, said.