BioWorld International Correspondent

LONDON - Acambis plc entered a deal with the Berna SA, the Swiss Serum and Vaccine Institute, to develop and market a single-dose combination oral typhoid and cholera vaccine for the traveler's market.

The vaccine will be based on Berna's Orochol, a single-dose oral cholera vaccine, which is approved in several countries, and Acambis' oral typhoid vaccine, which has just completed Phase II. The partners will share the cost of getting the typhoid vaccine through Phase III, and Berna will fund development of the manufacturing process.

Nick Higgins, commercial director of Acambis, told BioWorld International, "The deal does not involve money at this stage, but it gives us another product to expand our pipeline, while at the same time we keep the rights to our own product. It will also help us to build our franchise in the travel market."

The two also intend to look for other opportunities to collaborate in the travel vaccine field.

Acambis, based in Cambridge, UK, gave Berna exclusive rights to the typhoid vaccine in all markets except North America, while Berna has granted North American rights to Acambis for the combination vaccine the two will develop.

"Berna has the skills and expertise to make live bacterial vaccines, and will be responsible for manufacturing," Higgins said. "They also have an excellent distribution network."

The live virus is freeze-dried, allowing it to be shipped at ambient temperature, and mixed with water for administration.

It is expected that Acambis' typhoid vaccine will replace Berna's product, which has to be taken in three doses. Higgins expects the single vaccine, consisting of genetically attenuated Salmonella typhi, to be approved by 2005.