Emergent acquires vaccine production technology

Related tags Immune system

Emergent Biosolutions has announced it has acquired Microscience,
in a deal that adds proprietary platform technology in oral vaccine
delivery. The deal also adds to Emergent's European presence in the
growing global vaccine market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Emergent​ will inherit Microscience's spi-VEC technology, an oral delivery system capable of delivering bacterial, viral and cancer antigens.

spi-VEC is Microscience's proprietary oral delivery technology based on a live attenuated (pathogenic genes removed) salmonella vector, which has been engineered to efficiently express a vaccine antigen (protein) under the control of a proprietary promoter.

The spi-VEC oral delivery system preferentially targets antigen-presenting cells (APC) in the gut and stimulates both mucosal (via mucous membranes such as the tissue lining the gut) and systemic (whole body) immunity.

Diseases that could potentially be prevented, or treated, using spi-VEC technology include bacterial, viral and fungal infections, cancers (such as skin or colorectal) and allergies.

UK-based Microscience​, also brings to Emergent proprietary platform technologies that include Signature Tagged Mutagenesis, (STM) a genomic technology that rapidly and accurately identifies genes in microbes responsible for causing disease.

Microscience's proprietary STM platform discovery technology identifies genes that are essential for causing infections. The same technology also identifies novel targets for antimicrobial development.

As part of the transaction, Emergent is also acquiring a broad product portfolio of five clinical stage vaccines that target infectious diseases. These include oral vaccines to protect against Typhoid (Phase II), traveller's diarrhoea caused by enterotoxigenic E.coli (completed Phase I), and a therapeutic vaccine to treat chronic carriers of Hepatitis B (completed Phase I).

Early stage clinical trials for an injectable Meningitis B vaccine and a neonatal Group B Streptococcus vaccine are ongoing. A further oral vaccine program for anthrax is currently completing pre-clinical development.

Vaccine company, Microscience, is being re-named Emergent Europe and Dr Steven Chatfield, Emergent's senior vice president of Research & Development, has been appointed its chief executive officer. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Emergent Europe intends to operate from Microscience's 26,000 sq./ft. development and discovery facility near London, England.

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