Through a technology license agreement, BioVeris Corp. attained exclusive rights to a portfolio of vaccines that could someday enter billion dollar global infectious disease markets.
The Gaithersburg, Md.-based company signed for the rights from Baxter Healthcare Corp., agreeing to pay a license fee, and possibly patent costs and milestone fees, as well as royalties. The milestones would be based on the initiation and completion of clinical trials and regulatory approvals. A minimum annual royalty to Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter would start in 2010, but it is creditable against any other milestone payments and royalties.
BioVeris could not be reached for comment.
BioVeris' license covers the manufacture, production, use and commercialization of the vaccine candidates, including those that prevent diseases caused by Group A streptococci, Group B streptococci, Pneumococci, Group B meningococci, anthrax bacilli and urinary tract infection associated with E. coli.
The candidates, which are based on a conjugate technology platform, include recombinant protein antigens and are expected to complement BioVeris' existing vaccine products against bacterial meningitis of streptococcal, pneumococcal and meningococcal origin.
BioVeris was once part of IGEN International Inc., also of Gaithersburg, but it broke off into an independent public company in February 2004 when Roche Holding Ltd., a unit of Basel, Switzerland-based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., acquired IGEN. BioVeris assumed IGEN's biodefense, life science and industrial product lines, as well as opportunities in clinical diagnostics and health care. It also owns IGEN's intellectual property, including the electrochemiluminescence technology to detect and measure biological and chemical substances.
BioVeris decided to expand its business model in October 2004 to target the fields of immunogenicity, vaccines and vaccination services. At that time, the company introduced its products for testing protein-based therapeutics and said it was developing an approach to determine an individual's personal immune status through a diagnostic test panel. It also entered an exclusive option agreement with Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland in California for the right to negotiate for exclusive patent rights to a vaccine for Neisseria meningitides serogroup B, which causes meningitis.
The ball continued to roll from there, and in January, BioVeris expanded more by beginning work with the Brooke Army Medical Center, Department of Clinical Investigation to develop technology-based tests to detect clinical markers of disease and disease progression or recovery. That work will occur over a two-year time period.
In May, BioVeris entered an option agreement with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for exclusive patent rights to a vaccine candidate for Chlamydia. And a few months earlier, in February, BioVeris completed an agreement with the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada gaining worldwide, exclusive commercialization rights to candidates for a Group B streptococcus Type II and Type V vaccine and a Group B meningococcus (GBM) vaccine. It also received similar worldwide rights, except for Canada, to the NRC's GBM vaccine technologies to prevent meningococcal B meningitis and sepsis. In that deal, BioVeris disclosed a minimum annual royalty of $10,000.
The company did not disclose the financial details in its deal with Baxter.
For the quarter ended June 30, BioVeris posted a net loss of $6.7 million, or 25 cents per common share. It had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $87.1 million.
The company's stock (NASDAQ:BIOV) dropped 8 cents Friday to close at $5.34.