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Roche pulls out of vaccine alliance with Transgene

Published on 23/02/11 at 11:20am
Roche building

Roche has terminated its license agreement with Transgene for its HPV therapeutic vaccine TG4001.

The vaccine is currently being tested in phase IIb trials for diseases caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) including high-grade cervical lesions, a precursor to cervical cancer. 

Roche said the decision to pull out of the alliance was not driven by trial data, which has yielded positive results for the drug.

The Swiss pharma giant will formally terminate its agreement this summer, leaving Transgene with full developmental and commercial rights to TG4001.

The French biotech firm does not expect this decision to cause it a “significant financial impact” and it plans to start phase III development with a new partner in late 2012.

Philippe Archinard, chairman and chief executive of Transgene, said: “Although we are sorry to lose Roche as a corporate partner we remain committed to the product's development.

“Moreover, in this new context, the value of TG4001 for Transgene increases significantly and will of course increase even further if clinical data of the ongoing phase IIb trial are positive.”

TG4001 is based on a non-propagative, highly attenuated vaccinia vector (MVA), which is engineered to express HPV16 antigens and an adjuvant.

The vaccine is designed to have a two-pronged anti-viral approach: to alert the immune system specifically to HPV16-infected cells that have started to undergo precancerous transformation and to further stimulate the infection-clearing activity of the immune system through an adjuvant (interleukin 2). 

Ben Adams

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