Melbourne, 6 June 2012: Australian vaccine development company BioDiem Ltd (ASX: BDM) announced today that the company has signed a term sheet regarding the licensing of a novel vaccine technology from the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University (ANU). The first disease indication of the technology is dengue fever and it may also facilitate the design of vaccines against a number of other infectious diseases including Murray Valley encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis.
Dengue fever is a disease caused by a mosquito-borne virus that affects between 50 and 100 million people a year, and according to the World Health Organization the incidence is increasing significantly. Although only a small percentage of cases are fatal, non-fatal cases can be extremely debilitating. Dengue fever currently has no existing vaccine, and control methods include variably effective attempts to address mosquito populations.
This acquisition will complement BioDiem’s broad product portfolio of vaccine and antimicrobial technologies, and the Company’s strategy to provide treatments for infectious diseases with attractive market potential.
ANU is one of Australia’s leading research centres, consistently ranked among the best universities in Australia. The agreement would provide BioDiem with an exclusive license to the technology in exchange for royalties to ANU on any sales resulting from the commercialisation of the product, or on consideration received as a result of BioDiem outlicensing the technology for specific disease targets.
A feature of the agreement is BioDiem's freedom to outlicense the technology for other disease targets to accelerate development with minimal financial outlay by BioDiem.
"BioDiem will acquire a valuable asset which supports existing research work in the area of infectious disease vaccines and can also be licensed for other infectious diseases.
We are pleased our discussions with ANU have resulted in agreement on a term sheet on a technology, which so neatly fits within the BioDiem’s portfolio. ANU will also benefit from royalties from its commercial licensing. The work done to date by the ANU researchers provides a base for strong intellectual property and exciting new vaccine development opportunities for licencees” said BioDiem CEO Julie Phillips.
About BioDiem Ltd
BioDiem is an ASX-listed company based in Melbourne with an international focus on discovering, developing and commercialising world-class research and technology targeting cancers and infectious diseases. BioDiem’s core technologies include the Live Attenuated Influenza Virus (LAIV), the SAVINE platform and the BDM-I antimicrobial compound.
The LAIV influenza vaccine is an intranasal vaccine to prevent infection from seasonal and pandemic influenza. The LAIV influenza vaccine can be produced using both egg-based and cell-based manufacturing methods. The cell-based LAIV vaccine has completed a Phase II clinical trial in Europe. The egg-based LAIV vaccine technology is licensed to the World Health Organization as part of the Global Pandemic Influenza Action Plan to Increase Vaccine Supply.
The LAIV influenza vaccine is marketed as Nasovac™ in India by the Serum Institute of India, and has been licensed to China-based Changchun BCHT Biotechnology Co. The LAIV vaccine was in-licensed from the Institute of Experimental Medicine in St Petersburg, Russia where it has been used for over a decade in many millions of people - children, adults and the elderly. The LAIV is administered by nasal spray and induces a rapid immune response in the mucosal lining of the nose and pharynx.
The LAIV is also being developed as a viral vector for making novel non-influenza vaccines for different diseases including cancers. Viruses have the ability to generate proteins prolifically and can be programmed to produce disease-specific proteins. As part of a vaccine, disease-specific proteins can help generate a beneficial immune response.
SAVINE (Scrambled Antigen Vaccine) is a patented platform technology for the design of antigens for incorporation into vaccines targeting an immune response to a range of different diseases. SAVINE antigens are encoded as synthetic genes which, together with a delivery technology such as BioDiem's LAIV-based vaccine vector technology, can be used to develop novel vaccines.
BDM-I is a synthetic compound targeted at the treatment of serious human infections. BDM-I is in the preclinical stage with outlicensing as the intended outcome. BDM-I is active against a range of pathogenic micro-organisms including gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, fungi and protozoa. Key patents have been granted around BDM-I’s antimicrobial activity, including for activity against Plasmodium falciparum, responsible for causing the most commonly severe form of malaria, and Trichomonas vaginalis, the protozoan responsible for causing a common sexually transmitted disease named trichomoniasis.
BioDiem is also developing BDM-E, a tetrapeptide synthetic compound, as a treatment for ophthalmic disorders. The US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) has granted Orphan Drug designation to BDM-E for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, a serious degenerative disease of the retina.
BioDiem’s research is ongoing in partnerships with internationally recognised research institutions and biopharmaceutical companies.
For additional information, please visit www.biodiem.com
Phone +61 3 8866 1224 / +61 422 557 107
Julie Phillips, Chief Executive Officer
Phone +61 3 9613 4100