Immune Design lands $212M adjuvant pact with MedImmune

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Seattle vaccine upstart Immune Design scored a $212 million licensing deal and some important industry cred with its new pact giving MedImmune the right to use its adjuvant in new vaccines. The deal includes an upfront and various milestones, but the biotech didn't offer any details.

Launched two years ago with technology from a trio of scientific notables from Caltech, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Infectious Disease Research Institute, the biotech company has raised a total of $50 million in venture funds. This is its first licensing deal.

MedImmune, which forged a reputation in the RSV space with the blockbuster Synagis, has plans to use Immune Design's synthetic glucopyranosyl lipid A-or GLA-advuvant in a new vaccine to guard against RSV. MedImmune also plans to use the vaccine-boosting adjuvant for programs aimed at Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus infections. GLA is a toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4) agonist which IDC has advanced into early clinical stage development.

"The money is important, but what's more important is that someone very interested in developing new vaccines recognizes the necessity of putting our adjuvant in their vaccine," Executive Chairman Bruce Carter tells Xconomy.

- here's the Immune Design release
- and see the Xconomy report

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