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INSIDE INDUSTRY
Immune Design and Medicago announce license agreement and collaboration to develop novel adjuvanted pandemic influenza vaccines
Immune Design, a leader in the field of therapeutic vaccines for cancer, infectious diseases and allergy, and Medicago Inc, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing highly effective and competitive vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs), have entered a license agreement providing Medicago the use and commercialization of Immune Design’s proprietary synthetic Toll-like Receptor 4 agonist, Glucopyranosyl Lipid A (GLA). Medicago has the option to use Immune Design’s molecular adjuvant in its vaccines for various pandemic influenza strains.

Under the terms of the agreement, Immune Design has granted Medicago a worldwide, non-exclusive license to research, develop, and commercialize GLA as a component of its VLP-based vaccines in the field of pandemic influenza. Other terms were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to enter into this collaboration with Medicago and allow for our proprietary adjuvant to be utilized in their vaccine candidates for pandemic influenza,” states Carlos Paya, MD, PhD, Immune Design’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Medicago has demonstrated a track record to date, of rapid and successful vaccine candidates design and production which have them at the forefront of next generation vaccine development.”

“The established clinical safety and immunogenicity profile of Immune Design’s synthetic TLR4 agonist, GLA, make it an ideal adjuvant for our VLP-based influenza vaccine candidates,” said Andy Sheldon, Medicago’s President and Chief Executive Officer.  “We will further investigate the use of both formulated GLA and alum in our Phase II H5N1 trial which was recently initiated with results expected during the summer of 2013.”

Medicago’s first vaccine candidate in the field, which targets the H5N1 influenza strain, completed a successful U.S. Phase I study which was conducted with the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), earlier this year. In that study, all three configurations of adjuvant and route of administration (I.D., Alum, and GLA-AF) for 20ug of the H5N1 vaccine candidate induced a solid immune response against the H5N1 viral strain that exceeded the CHMP immunogenicity criteria for licensure of influenza vaccines. Medicago recently initiated a Phase II study of its H5N1 VLP in combination with both the GLA and alum adjuvants with results expected in the summer of 2013.

Medicago also recently announced the production of a H7N9 VLP vaccine candidate which includes formulated GLA or alum, making Medicago the first company to successfully produce a VLP vaccine candidate against the emerging strain. Medicago and Immune Design are collaborating to conduct preclinical studies of the H7N9 VLP-GLA combination.

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