July 23, 2008

Emergent BioSolutions and University of Oxford Join Hands to Develop TB Vaccine

The University of Oxford and Emergent BioSolutions have formed a joint venture, The Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium, to further develop MVA85A, a clinically advanced vaccine candidate for the prevention of tuberculosis.

The University of Oxford, through its technology transfer office, Isis Innovation, has exclusively licensed the MVA85A tuberculosis (TB) vaccine candidate and related technology to the consortium.

The consortium will work with the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation to evaluate the efficacy of MVA85A in infants in a Phase IIb clinical trial anticipated to begin in 2009. The trial will take place at a clinical trial site developed by Aeras and the University of Cape Town's South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative in Worcester, South Africa.

The consortium has secured GBP8 million from The Wellcome Trust and the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation to fund this Phase IIb trial. Under agreements with the consortium, Emergent BioSolutions has the rights to commercialize the MVA85A vaccine. The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation will have distribution rights in the developing world to ensure availability and access to the vaccine to those who need it.

The MVA85A vaccine candidate is designed to work in tandem with the Bacille Calmette Guerin vaccine (BCG), which is currently the only available vaccine against tuberculosis. The MVA85A vaccine candidate is intended to augment the response of T-cells already primed by the BCG vaccine.

Mauro Gibellini, senior vice president corporate development, Emergent BioSolutions, said: "We believe that by pooling our resources and expertise with such distinguished academic and charitable peers, this consortium is well-positioned to develop what would be a groundbreaking vaccine to prevent one of the world's most widespread diseases and tragic causes of death."