Univax Biologics Inc. announced last week that it has receivedpermission from FDA to conduct a plasma donor stimulationprogram using Genentech Inc.'s (NYSE:GNE) recombinant gp120HIV vaccine.
The goal is to produce a polyclonal antibody product to betested in clinical trials for the prevention and treatment of HIVinfections. Univax of Rockville, Md., expects to beginimmunizing the individual donors by the end of January.
By inoculating donors with the gp120 vaccine, the companieshope to generate high antibody levels able to neutralize theAIDS-causing virus. The polyclonal antibodies will be extractedfrom the plasma of the healthy uninfected donors forevaluating in AIDS patients in Phase I/II trials. If the productadvances to Phase IIIs, both Genentech and Univax willconduct the trials jointly. The two companies agreed lastSeptember that Genentech will market the polyclonal antibodyproduct worldwide and Univax will have the manufacturingrights.
In a separate development last week, Univax sold its interest inNovavax Inc. to IGI Inc. (AMEX:IG) of Buena, N.J. Novavax is ahuman vaccine development joint venture formed by the twocompanies last May. Novavax's medical research group willcontinue development work at its Rockville facility on vaccinesformulated with lipid vesicles as adjuvants or as carriers ofsubunit antigens.
-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor
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