Astellas Pharma and ClearPath Development Co. have entered a strategic partnership to form a portfolio of development companies focused on vaccines for infectious diseases. The partnership will support Astellas' global vaccine franchise with the launch of the first company, RSV Corp. (RSVC). Astellas will fund RSVC's development of a virosome vaccine technology, licensed from Mymetics Corp., for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), through Phase IIb proof-of-concept. Astellas will have exclusive rights to acquire RSVC, as well as further develop and commercialize the vaccine.
"This partnership highlights our commitment to build a global vaccine business and represents a highly efficient model for bringing innovative vaccines to market. It is also a unique opportunity for Astellas to utilize external cutting-edge science and technology to enhance our ability to generate innovative drugs, as part of our ‘Reshaping Research Framework’ program announced in May, 2013," said Kenji Yasukawa, senior vice president and chief strategy officer, Astellas.
"Together we are harnessing our collective resources to accelerate development of this promising, early stage asset and will replicate this scalable, outcome driven model across future portfolio companies," said Chuck Finn, Ph.D., chairman, ClearPath Development Co.
Mymetics will collaborate with RSVC on the development of the vaccine on preclinical activities including nonclinical evaluation, formulation development, and manufacture. Mymetics is eligible to receive upfront and proof-of-concept milestone payments of as much as $82 million, as well as royalties and other payments.
"The financial backing and commercial experience of Astellas combined with ClearPath's development expertise and our continued program involvement are unique factors which all work to increase the likelihood of success," said Ronald Kempers, chief executive officer, Mymetics. "We anticipate RSV will be the first of many vaccine constructs that can be generated from our proprietary second-generation virosome platform."