Healthcare Industry News: influenza vaccine
News Release - October 9, 2006
Pfizer Expands Commitment to Fight Infectious Diseases With Agreement to Acquire Vaccine Company PowderMed LtdAcquisition Marks Strategic Entry Into DNA-Based Vaccines New Technology Platform has Potential to Leapfrog Decades-Old, Egg-Based Vaccine Technology Currently in Use
NEW YORK, and OXFORD, England, Oct. 9 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Pfizer Inc announced today it has entered into an agreement to acquire PowderMed Ltd., a privately held U.K. company specializing in the emerging science of DNA-based vaccines.
PowderMed has developed a unique and proprietary technology to deliver DNA directly to the cells of the body's immune system and is advancing a promising pipeline of proprietary vaccine candidates for influenza and chronic viral diseases.
"This acquisition is a strategic opportunity to enter the vaccine market and is part of our focus on broadening healthcare solutions for patients," said Jeffrey B. Kindler, chief executive officer, Pfizer Inc. "There is a critical public health need for new, more effective vaccines to prevent and treat infectious diseases. As understanding of the human immune system continues to grow exponentially, PowderMed is on the leading edge of advances in vaccine technology that may lead to new vaccines for infectious diseases."
"This acquisition is an example of the fresh approach Pfizer is taking to business development," said David Shedlarz, vice chairman of Pfizer. "With PowderMed's novel DNA technology and its portfolio of early-stage vaccine candidates, we are adding high-potential, externally sourced product candidates and technologies to our research and development portfolio."
Needle-free delivery system produces robust immune response
PowderMed's vaccine development program is based on its Particle Mediated Epidermal Delivery (PMED) technology, a needle-free delivery system that delivers DNA-coated microscopic gold particles into the skin using pressurized helium gas. The particles penetrate the epidermal layer of the skin activating cells that in turn trigger an immune response. Vaccines based on the PMED technology have been shown to elicit both antibody and cell mediated immune responses, which could lead to improved efficacy compared to traditional vaccines.
PowderMed's DNA-Based Vaccines
* Vaccine development program based on Particle Mediated Epidermal Delivery (PMED) technology
* A needle-free delivery system
* Delivers DNA-coated microscopic gold particles into the skin using pressurized helium gas
* Particles penetrate the epidermal layer of the skin activating cells that in turn trigger an immune response
* Vaccines based on PMED technology have been shown to elicit both antibody and cell mediated immune responses
* Could lead to improved efficacy compared to traditional vaccines
New technology has potential advantages over egg-based vaccines PowderMed is at the forefront of a scientific effort to overhaul a vaccine manufacturing system that has remained largely unchanged for the last 50 years. The current system produces flu vaccine inside chicken eggs, a time- consuming process that takes up to nine months. The process is constrained by limited manufacturing capacity and a limited ability to quickly adapt vaccines to emerging strains of influenza.
PowderMed's vaccines are being developed in formulations that are stable at room temperature, potentially eliminating the need for cold storage of vaccines. The user-friendly PowderMed delivery device requires minimal medical training and may allow for self-administration.
PowderMed's DNA-based technology platform has the potential to leapfrog both egg-based vaccine technology and the cell-based vaccine technology currently being developed.
"While the research is at an early stage, DNA-based vaccines may be the next major innovation against the threat of influenza and other chronic viral diseases," said Dr. John LaMattina, president, Pfizer Global Research and Development. "PowderMed's technology may lead to new vaccines that are easier to use and store than current vaccines and may have the advantage of being more quickly adaptable to changing strains of influenza."
Seasonal flu candidate highlights vaccine pipeline
PowderMed has DNA-based influenza vaccines in clinical development for prevention of both seasonal and avian flu. The most advanced candidate is entering Phase II clinical studies for seasonal flu. PowderMed's pipeline also includes vaccines in Phase I development for herpes simplex virus (HSV) and chronic hepatitis B (HBV) and a preclinical project in genital warts (HPV).
"I am delighted that the potential of the PowderMed technology to revolutionize the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases is now in the hands of the world's leading pharmaceutical company," said Dr. Clive Dix, Founder and CEO PowderMed Ltd. "This agreement is a testament to the hard work and commitment of the PowderMed employees over the years."
Rolf Stahel Chairman of PowderMed Ltd. added, "PowderMed is a great success story. Through the financial support of a syndicate of leading life science investors and an experienced management team, led by Clive Dix, PowderMed has made outstanding progress in the development of its pipeline of DNA-based vaccines as reflected in this deal reached with Pfizer."
PowderMed's venture investors included Abingworth Management, Advent Venture Partners, Oxford Bioscience Partners and SV Life Sciences. PowderMed was advised in the deal by Lehman Brothers and Ashurst.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions (including approval under the Hart- Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976), and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2006.
More information on both companies and the PowderMed technology can be found at www.pfizer.com and www.powdermed.com.
PFIZER DISCLOSURE NOTICE: The information contained in this release is as of October 9, 2006. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward- looking statements contained in this release as a result of new information or future events or developments.
This release contains forward-looking information about an agreement by Pfizer to acquire PowderMed Ltd. and about PowderMed's research and development programs, possible product candidates that may result from those programs and the potential benefits of such product candidates. Such information involves substantial risks and uncertainties including, among other things, the satisfaction of conditions to closing the agreement; the uncertainties inherent in research and development activities; decisions by regulatory authorities regarding whether and when to approve any drug applications for product candidates that may result from such programs as well as their decisions regarding labeling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of such product candidates; and competitive developments.
A further list and description of risks and uncertainties can be found in Pfizer's Annual Report of Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2005 and in its reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.
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