Spanish start up to develop therapeutic HPV vaccine
A Madrid – About 70% of all women will become infected with papilloma viruses (HPV) at least once in their lifetime. Now, the Spanish vaccine specialist Chimera Pharma SL (Madrid) has signed an exclusive licensing and cooperation agreement with the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. Under the agreement, the two partners will develop, a therapeutic vaccine against cervical cancer to prevent women who are already infected with HPV from developing cancer, and to eradicate existing cancer prestages. Chimera has got exclusive world-wide rights to commercialise thevaccine.
Huge market promise
The market for a vaccine that kills the cancer-causing virus subtypes seems to be extremely promising. Sanofi-Pasteur MSD, which licensed IP from Chimera’s German cooperation partners under Prof. Harald zur Hausen and Dr. Angel Cid-Arregui, has made EUR1.3bn revenues with the prophylactic HPV vaccine Gardasil® since its market launch in June 2006.
Together with our Spanish partners, we will develop a protein vaccine against HPV16 and HPV18, which are linked to cervical cancer,” Cid-Arregui told EuroBiotechNews. The vaccine will be based on fusion proteins of three HPV envelope protein domains with the HBSAg envelope protein of the Hepatitis-B virus, which forms empty immunogenic virus envelopes. In addition to this, the virus shells can transport further proteins that stimulate the immune system.
“Similar to our patented (US-PTO 7,201,908) vaccine candidate, we have demonstrated the preclinical efficacy of our new compound,” says Cid-Arregui. The young Spanish company – part of Madrid-based Grupo Bionostra – is currently beginning toxicological studies, and is planning to establish GMP production by February, and to file an application for clinical development by summer 2009. Like many biotech companies that develop compounds to Phase 2 for outlicensing to big pharma, Chimera currently does not have the resources for full clinical development. Thus, at the moment outlicencing to a big pharma company seems the most probable exit