By Kim Coghill
GenVec Inc. and Warner-Lambert Co., a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc., will end their preclinical collaboration program in angiogenesis on July 1.
GenVec, which already has received $30 million from Morris Plains, N.J.-based Warner-Lambert through the research component of the agreement, could have earned another $4 million. Severing ties in preclinical research does not impact the collaboration on BioBypass angiogen, currently in Phase II trials for the treatment of coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease, Paul Fischer, president and CEO of Gaithersburg, Md.-based GenVec said.
As of September 2000, GenVec had received $53.7 million from Warner-Lambert under the BioBypass collaboration and potentially will receive another $42 million in clinical milestone payments and $5 million in an equity purchase from Warner-Lambert.
"In the last year or so the focus on the research side turned toward early angiogenesis research and apparently Pfizer decided the preclinical program is less valuable as opposed to the clinical," Fischer said. "They decided to conclude that portion of the arrangement."
But the future of BioBypass is unscathed, said Fischer. "Pfizer did select BioBypass angiogen as a development candidate and they have been moving it through the clinic. That part of the arrangement is moving straight ahead."
GenVec's technology incorporates genes into modified adenoviruses and injects them with catheters and syringes. In July 1997, the company entered the partnership with Warner-Lambert using the VEGF gene against coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease. Pfizer, of New York, purchased Warner-Lambert last year.
Other products in the GenVec pipeline are TNFerade, to be used with radiation therapy against cancer; Genstent, to block the narrowing of blood vessels from vascular damage caused by angioplasty and vascular grafts; and pigment epithelium-derived factor, a group that includes a number of candidates to treat macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
Fischer said the loss of the preclinical collaboration will have no impact on the company's other pipeline products.
GenVec raised $38 million in its initial public offering in December through the sale of 4 million shares at $9.50 per share. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 13, 2000.)
GenVec's stock (NASDAQ:GNVC) closed Thursday at $7.875, down 50 cents.