BioWorld International Correspondent

Bavarian Nordic Research Institute A/S gained worldwide exclusivity on polytope vaccine technology developed by Vaccine Solutions Pty. Ltd. for HIV, with options for four additional indications. These include malignant melanoma, malaria and one further cancer and infectious disease, to be determined by more research.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal includes a combination of up-front, milestone and royalty payments to Vaccine Solutions, which is the commercialization arm of the Cooperative Research Centre for Vaccine Technology in Brisbane, Australia. It represents an extension of an earlier collaboration between the companies.

Vaccine Solutions' polytope technology involves the creation of artificial stretches of DNA that encode multiple copies of a particular epitope that provokes an immune response. Bavarian Nordic is combining this with its proprietary MVA-BN vector, which is based on a modified Vaccinia virus. "We are working to getting the construct into clinical trials in 18 months," CEO Peter Wulff said.

The Copenhagen, Denmark, company has invested in a bioinformatics capability to aid epitope identification and selection, Wulff told BioWorld International. It also has academic collaborators in this area, and last year licensed HIV cytotoxic T-lymphocyte epitopes from the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen.

Bavarian Nordic plans to raise between DKK400 million (US$50.2 million) and DKK 600 million this year, to fund its preclinical development programs, including further refinements of its Vaccinia-based vector technology. Bavarian Nordic currently has three programs in the clinic. A Phase II trial of a combined encapsulated cell therapy and chemotherapeutic treatment for pancreatic cancer is still at the recruitment stage. Therapeutic vaccines for malignant melanoma and for HIV are at the Phase I/II stage.