NasVax signs flu vaccine deal with Novartis

The deal comes eight months after NasVax signed with GlaxosmithKline.

NasVax Ltd. (TASE: NSVX) has signed its second agreement with a global pharmaceutical giant. The company today has signed an agreement with Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS; LSE: NOV; SWX: NOVZ) unit Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Srl to jointly develop NasVax's VaxiSome adjuvant technology for improved flu vaccines, including swine flu. NasVax also awarded Novartis a non-exclusive license for the adjuvant technology. NasVax can sell the technology to other companies as well, as well as using it for its own vaccines.

NasVax has already conducted animal trials on its VaxiSome. The trials found that use of Novartis' flu vaccine with VaxiSome was preferred and more effective that current combinations on the market. Novartis will conduct its own similar trials over the next 14 months to decide for which vaccines it wants to buy the adjuvant.

Financial terms of the agreement will only be decided at that stage. They will presumably include a small initial payment, milestone payments, and substantial royalties on future sales, if a product reaches market.

At the same time, NasVax is pursuing independent development of improved flu vaccines. The company has apparently temporarily abandoned an inhalable flu vaccine for technical reasons.

Eight months ago, NasVax subsidiary Protea Vaccine Technologies Ltd. signed an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE; LSE: GSK), which bought full rights to Protea’s conserved pneumococcal proteins for the development and commercialization of a universal protein-based Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine. GlaxoSmithKline has already paid Protea several million euros under this deal.

NasVax's share price rose 8.1% by early afternoon to NIS 2.40, giving a market cap of NIS 72 million.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on February 21, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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