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Emergent teams with sanofi
GAITHERSBURG, Md.—August 15, 2006—Emergent BioSolutions announced it has registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a potential $86-million IPO. The number and price of shares have not yet been determined. J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. will serve as sole book-running manager for the offering.
GAITHERSBURG, Md.—Emergent BioSolutions, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company, in June signed an agreement with sanofi pasteur, the vaccines business of the sanofi-aventis Group, giving the company exclusive, worldwide rights to Emergent BioSolutions' proprietary proteins and related technology to develop a novel vaccine against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B bacterial infections.
While there are effective purified polysaccharide and conjugate vaccines available to protect against the other major meningococcal serogroups, currently there is no vaccine to protect against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B infections. Even with intensive medical treatment, meningococcal infection has a fatality rate of up to 10 percent, and approximately 15 percent of survivors are left with serious disability, such as loss of limbs, deafness or brain damage.
"Our agreement with sanofi pasteur is an important step forward in the development of a critically needed vaccine to prevent one of the world's deadliest childhood diseases," says Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and CEO of Emergent. "This agreement is also consistent with our strategy of selectively establishing relationships with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for the commercialization of certain of our product candidates."
It is also an opportunity that might not have presented itself had Emergent not acquired U.K.-based vaccine company Microscience just over a year ago.
"Microscience had already initiated discussions with sanofi before the acquisition," recalls Kyle Keese, senior VP, marketing and communications for Emergent. "So that acquisition, in addition to bringing us a significant commercial pipeline of preclinical and clinical-stage vaccines, also brought in the collaboration with sanofi."
The two companies will jointly evaluate and develop a pool of four antigen candidates that could serve as the basis of a multivalent subunit vaccine against Neisseria meningitidis infection. Emergent BioSolutions identified these protein candidates using its patented Signature-Tagged Mutagenesis functional genomics technology—another inheritance from the Microscience acquisition—in combination with functional proteomics techniques.
Under the terms of the agreement, Emergent will have primary responsibility for product development activities from the current preclinical testing through Phase I clinical trials, Keese reports. Then sanofi pasteur will have primary responsibility for product development activities from initiation of Phase 2 studies through to regulatory approval, and for all commercialization activities including world- wide sales and marketing.