Novozymes Biopharma enters agreement with leading vaccine company

To conduct research on a novel subunit vaccine complex based on albumin fusion technology

Novozymes Biopharma, a Danish biopharmaceutical company, has entered a new collaborative research agreement with an unnamed vaccine company. The partnership will enable this company to evaluate Novozymes Biopharma's modified recombinant human albumin (rAlbumin) Veltis technology, to assess the dosing and performance of a novel subunit antigen vaccine candidate.

'This showcases the potential application of Novozymes’ proven albumin-based half-life extension technology in the vaccine space,' says Svend Licht, Global Head of Sales & Business Development at Novozymes Biopharma. 'The Veltis technology could overcome many of the limitations of current subunit vaccines, resulting in both improved healthcare and economic outcomes.'

Subunit vaccines are said to be a safer and more specific alternative to live attenuated vaccines; however, they are often limited by the requirement for multiple dosing and the need for adjuvants to improve the immune response.

Novozymes Biopharma’s Albumin vaccine complex technology, based on the genetic fusion or conjugation of a subunit antigen to Novozymes’ sequence modified albumin variants, has been designed to overcome these limitations by allowing the fused or conjugated antigenic species to remain in circulation for a longer period of time than the uncomplexed antigen.

Veltis’ long half-life is due to a receptor mediated recycling process in the cells lining blood vessels. In specific immune cells, this receptor has been shown to facilitate presentation of antigens when bound to antibodies as a complex. The Albumin vaccine complex technology should similarly be presented in these immune cells, potentially eliciting a powerful and protective immune response.

The agreement covers a feasibility study between the two companies and is not expected to have any impact on Novozymes’ financial results in 2014.

Novozymes recently announced that its half-life extension technology is being used by Janssen and GlaxoSmithKline.

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