Pfizer Takes Controlling Interest In Startup; Grabs Access of Preclinical CMV Candidate

Published: Jan 05, 2015

Pfizer Takes Controlling Interest In Startup; Grabs Access of Preclinical CMV Candidate
January 5, 2015
By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Pfizer Inc. announced today that it has acquired a controlling interest in Redvax GmbH, a spin-off from Redbiotec AG, situated in Zurich. As a result, Pfizer will gain access to a preclinical human cytomegalovirus vaccine candidate.

“We are working to bring innovative vaccines to market that prevent and treat serious diseases,” said Kathrin Jansen, senior vice president and chief scientific officer of Vaccine Research and Early Development at Pfizer. “Through the acquisition of the Redvax innovative CMV vaccine platform and expertise we will seek to develop a vaccine to prevent a difficult disease that can have a devastating and lifelong impact on young children.”

In addition, Pfizer will obtain intellectual property through the deal, as well as a technology platform related to an undisclosed vaccine program.

“We are pleased to have completed this deal with Pfizer, a global leader in vaccines,” said Christian Schaub, CEO of Redbiotec and managing director of Redvax. “This represents an important step toward the development of a much needed vaccine for CMV, a disease that has a devastating impact on children and families. We believe that combining Redvax’s assets with Pfizer’s commitment, expertise and resources will significantly enhance the potential of developing this important vaccine.”

The CMV vaccine addresses the CMV herpes virus, which infects between 50 and 90 percent of the adult population. A majority of these cases are asymptomatic, and the disease results in the U.S. health care system spending approximately $1.8 billion annually.

A Link to Heart Complications
Research published by VBI Vaccines, a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on vaccine protection, shows that CMV may be linked to atherosclerosis. This condition, which is the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, can cause acute coronary syndrome.

ACS is the term used to described any condition that results in reduced blood flow to the heart. CMV infections are now suspected to cause inflammation, which can impact the development of ACS and atherosclerosis.

A study released in 2014 showed that human cytomegalovirus-platelet interactions could lead to pro-inflammatory responses and potentially speed up the development of atherosclerosis. This conclusion was drawn after researchers looked at how HCMV platelets interacted in the blood.

“HCMV is a well-adapted pathogen that does not induce immediate thrombotic events,” wrote the authors. “However, HCMV-platelet interactions lead to pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic responses, which exacerbate tissue damage and contribute to atherogenesis. Therefore, platelets might contribute to the effects of HCMV in accelerating atherosclerosis.”

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