Ribi ImmunoChem Research Inc. announced today that it hassigned an agreement to supply its adjuvants to SmithKlineBeecham (SKB) for use in pediatric vaccines and other vaccinesfor human bacterial diseases.

SKB (NYSE:SKB) got a worldwide license to use the Ribiadjuvants commercially in these vaccines and will pay Ribiroyalties on sales.

SKB's combination pediatric vaccines contain diphtheria,pertussis, tetanus, meningitis (Haemophilus influenzae B),hepatitis B and polio antigens. The annual potential patientpopulation has been conservatively estimated at 7.6 millionchildren, according to Robert Ivy, Ribi's president and chiefexecutive officer.

The Hamilton, Mont., company (NASDAQ:RIBI) has three coreadjuvants, Jeffrey McDowell, Ribi's manager of corporateinformation, told BioWorld. The first, MPL Immunostimulant, isa modified derivative of gram-negative endotoxin. The secondconsists of the cell wall skeleton (CWS) from mycobacteria. Thethird is trehalose dimycolate (TDM), derived from the cell wallstructure of mycobacteria.

"Any one can be used by itself or in combination," McDowellsaid, although the adjuvant of choice tends to be Detox, which isactually a combination of MPL and CWS. "That's what goes intothe Melacine vaccine that Biomira is working with," McDowelladded.

Indeed, just Tuesday Biomira Inc. (NASDAQ:BIOMF) ofEdmonton, Alberta, announced that Ribi granted it an exclusivelicense to market in Canada Melacine, which is a therapeuticvaccine for melanoma. Again, Ribi gets royalties from productsales. Melacine is in two pivotal Phase III clinical trials in theU.S. in malignant melanoma patients. In Canada, Biomira willconduct the clinicals and run the regulatory gamut.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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