PARIS - The Dutch company Crucell NV, of Leiden, signed a licensing agreement with Eurogene Ltd. granting the London-based company limited rights to its PER.C6 technology.

The deal gives Eurogene access to Crucell's PER.C6 adenoviral packaging cell line platform for research purposes, plus an option to convert to a commercial license within five years. In return, Crucell will receive an undisclosed up-front payment and further annual payments, as well as royalties on net sales of adenoviral gene therapy products arising from the agreement.

This is the 14th license that Crucell has granted for its PER.C6 technology. Other licensees include Merck & Co. Inc. (in the area of gene therapy and recombinant adenoviral vaccines), Glaxo Wellcome plc, Aventis Pharmaceutical Products Inc., Novartis (through its Systemix subsidiary), Pfizer/Warner-Lambert, Schering AG, Genzyme Corp. and Oxford BioMedica Ltd.

Crucell signed a second agreement with Merck in October giving it an exclusive license to use the PER.C6 platform for developing vaccines to prevent and treat a specific disease. The deal also gives Merck the option of acquiring exclusive rights to the technology for three other diseases in the future.