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GSK patch vaccine technology collaboration

GSK and Intercell have formed a strategic alliance to develop and commercialise innovative needle-free patch-based vaccines

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals SA (GSK) and Intercell have formed a strategic alliance to accelerate the development and commercialisation of needle-free, patch-based vaccines. The agreement includes Intercell's candidate vaccine for travellers' diarrhoea (TD) – which is currently in phase III – and an investigational single application pandemic influenza vaccine – in phase II, as well as the use of the patch technology for other vaccines in GSK's portfolio.

Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will make an up-front cash contribution of €33.6m ($49.4m), in addition to an equity investment of up to €84m ($123.5m) through a staggered shareholding purchase option of up to 5 per cent in Intercell.

Each year, approximately 20 million international travellers develop TD while visiting endemic areas in Asia, Africa, and South America. Currently, there is no vaccine available to address this medical need. GSK and Intercell will collaborate to commercialise the TD Vaccine Patch vaccine once it has gained regulatory approval, as well as to further develop and co-market an innovative pandemic influenza vaccination approach.

Compared with standard immunisation via needles, the patch technology could offer certain benefits such as easy administration and direct delivery of the antigen and adjuvant to the immune system through a natural defence pathway, which could make vaccination more efficient. In studies, the patch was shown to boost cellular immunity to a diverse range of antigens and to stimulate both B-cell and T-cell responses. It contains the heat labile enterotoxin from E. coli (LT), one of the most potent stimulators of the immune system.

"This novel technology has real potential to change the way vaccines are delivered in the future. GSK has an extensive portfolio of vaccines and we believe needle-free vaccination could offer benefits such as simplified administration and increased compliance," said Jean Stephenne, president of GSK Biologicals. "This agreement demonstrates how, as an integral part of our R&D programme, we not only look at new vaccines but also at alternative approaches to oral and intramuscular administration."

14th December 2009

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