Dutch biotechnology company Crucell has signed up an additional client, GeneMax of the USA, for its PER.C6 biological drug production technology.
Crucell shares closed 3.6 per cent higher at €3.59 yesterday, supported by the firm's comments that it will receive upfront and annual payments for the deal, as well as the validation of PER.C6 as a delivery vector for gene therapy. And the agreement comes at a good time for the company, as it reported a slide in second-quarter revenues last month.
Under the terms of the agreement, GeneMax will use Crucell's PER.C6 technology for research in the field of adenovirus-based gene delivery, relating specifically to the TAP (Transporters Associated With Antigen Processing) gene. The US company is developing TAP-based cancer vaccines as an immunotherapy for many forms of cancer, including tumours of the lung, liver, kidney, head and neck, breast, prostate, and cervix, as well as colorectal cancer and melanoma.
GeneMax has also obtained an option for a non-exclusive commercial license to use PER.C6 cells to manufacture and sell products in the field of gene delivery, and Crucell will receive additional payments if this is exercised.
PER.C6 is an immortalised human cell line that is suitable for producing protein-based drugs and vaccines on a commercial scale. Crucell's business model to date has focused on generating revenues from PER.C6 royalties, but the company recently started developing its own vaccine product against West Nile virus.
"As interest in gene delivery rebounds, we believe new opportunities for future agreements will further strengthen PER.C6's value to this industry," said Crucell chief executive Dinko Valerio.