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Pfizer buys vaccine developer Redvax

Published on 06/01/15 at 12:22pm
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Adding to its latest string of deals Pfizer has acquired vaccine developer Redvax – the pre-clinical arm of Swiss company Redbiotec.

The agreement gives the US pharma giant access to a pre-clinical human cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine candidate, as well as property and a second undisclosed serum programme. The shot will add to Pfizer’s already robust research portfolio of investigational injections.

“We are working to bring innovative vaccines to market that prevent and treat serious diseases,” says Dr Kathrin Jansen, senior vice president and chief scientific officer of Vaccine Research and Early Development for Pfizer.

“Through the acquisition of the Redvax innovative CMV vaccine platform and expertise we will seek to develop a vaccine to prevent a difficult disease that can have a devastating and lifelong impact on young children,” adds Jansen.

Infecting between 50-90% of the adult population, CMV – a herpes virus – also affects around 5,000 children each year in the US.

Babies born with the disease can experience hearing loss and severe neurologic disorders. In fact more children have disabilities due to congenital CMV than any other well-known infections and syndromes.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has ranked the development of a CMV serum as a highest priority due to the potential lives it will save.

Christian Schaub, chief executive of Redbiotec and managing director of Redvax says, “We are pleased to have completed this deal with Pfizer, a global leader in vaccines. This represents an important step toward the development of a much needed vaccine for CMV, a disease that has a devastating impact on children and families.

“We believe that combining Redvax’s assets with Pfizer’s commitment, expertise and resources will significantly enhance the potential of developing this important vaccine,” he concludes.

Investment in gene therapy

Aside from Pfizer’s increasing focus on vaccines which last year saw the company acquire Baxter International’s portfolio of serums for $635 million, it recently announced that it is establishing a gene therapy platform.

Teaming up with US biotech Spark Therapeutics the pharma firm will work to co-develop Spark’s SPK-FIX, an Adeno-Associated Virus vector programme for the treatment of haemophilia B.

Geno Germano who is Pfizer’s group president of global innovative pharma business, comments: “We believe the SPK-FIX programme could add to our existing portfolio of haemophilia products and could pioneer a potential new treatment technology for patients with bleeding disorders.”

Tom Robinson

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