GAITHERSBURG, Md., Oct. 16 MedImmune announced today thatit has licensed its proprietary reverse genetics intellectual property toOmninvest, a Hungarian research and manufacturing company, to support thedevelopment and construction of new vaccine strains to produce non-live humaninfluenza vaccines. Reverse genetics is a method by which viruses such asinfluenza can be generated from segments of DNA. For potential pandemicinfluenza vaccines, reverse genetics can be a useful technology because theprocess does not require manufacturers to work directly with potentiallyhighly infectious pandemic strains, such as H5N1, rather only with segments ofthe virus's genome. This announcement marks the second agreement of this kindthat MedImmune signed in the third quarter of 2008.
"Omninvest has demonstrated decades of commitment to providing protectionagainst influenza, and we commend their commitment to donate some of theirproduct to the World Health Organization (WHO) stockpile for distributionamong developing nations," said MedImmune's Jonathan Klein-Evans, vicepresident, intellectual property. "MedImmune is pleased to license ourreverse genetics technology to Omninvest as we have done previously to fiveother influenza vaccine manufacturers."
MedImmune will receive an upfront payment and has the potential to receiveroyalties on certain vaccine stockpiles or sales of other influenza productsdeveloped using the reverse genetics technology.
Most influenza vaccine manufacturing companies and governmental agenciesare now using reverse genetics technology in their development of pandemicvaccine candidates because it allows them to avoid working directly with theinfectious, circulating pandemic strains. As the owner or exclusive licenseeof key patent estates for use of the reverse genetics technology in humaninfluenza vaccines, MedImmune has offered other influenza vaccinemanufacturers non-exclusive licenses to these intellectual property estatesfor use in manufacturing seasonal or pandemic vaccines.
In a first for any influenza vaccine manufacturer, MedImmune applied thereverse genetics process to the development of its seasonal live, attenuatednasal spray influenza vaccine for the 2008-2009 season.
Since December of 2006, MedImmune has licensed its reverse geneticstechnology to CSL Limited of Australia, sanofi pasteur, Novartis,GlaxoSmithKline and BIKEN of Japan.
MedImmune is a leading innovation-focused biotechnology company whosemission is to provide better medicines to patients, new medical options forphysicians and rewarding careers to employees. Dedicated to advancing scienceand medicine to help people live better lives, the company is focused oninfection, oncology, respiratory disease and inflammation, cardiovascular/gastrointestinal disease and neuroscience. Headquartered in Gaithersburg,Maryland, MedImmune has approximately 3,000 employees worldwide and is thewholly owned biologics business for AstraZeneca plc (LSE: AZN.L, NYSE: AZN).For more information, visit MedImmune's website at www.medimmune.com.