Impact of discontinuation of Merck HIV study on Crucell's prospects
LEIDEN, NETHERLANDS - Dutch biotechnology company Crucell N.V.Â today stated that it wishes to emphasize that the discontinuation of Merck's HIV phase I and II studys, as announced on Friday September 21, is not related to the use of Crucell's PER.C6Â® technology. The company further added that it reiterates its guidance for 2007 at EUR 220 to 225 million operational cash break even.
"While the vaccine is produced on Crucell's PER.C6Â® technology, the discontinuation of the study appears in no way related to the safety or efficacy of the PER.C6Â® production technology and therefore has no impact on either Crucell's licensing activities or Crucell's partnership with Merck with respect to Crucell's PER.C6Â® and AdvacÂ® technologies as announced two weeks ago", said Dr. Jaap Goudsmit, Crucell's Chief Scientific Officer. "We emphathize with all people at risk of AIDS for whom this result is a set back."
Crucell also reiterates its guidance of EUR 220-225 million operational cash break even for 2007. "We had not incorporated any income from the Merck HIV program in our guidance for 2007. As the program was in a phase II study it was not at all expected to enter the market within the next couple of years to generate royalty-based income for Crucell. We therefore wish to emphasize that our guidance for 2007 has not changed as a result of this event," said Ronald Brus, Chief Executive Officer. "Bringing an HIV vaccine to market has always been considered to be a major challenge."
Crucell N.V. (Euronext, NASDAQ: CRXL; Swiss Exchange: CRX) is a biotechnology company focused on research, development and worldwide marketing of vaccines and antibodies that prevent and treat infectious diseases. Its vaccines are sold in public and private markets worldwide. Crucell's core portfolio includes a vaccine against hepatitis B, a fully-liquid vaccine against five important childhood diseases, and a virosome-adjuvanted vaccine against influenza. Crucell also markets travel vaccines, such as the only oral anti-typhoid vaccine, an oral cholera vaccine and the only aluminium-free hepatitis A vaccine on the market. The Company has a broad development pipeline, with several Crucell products based on its unique PER.C6Â® production technology. The Company licenses this and other technologies to the biopharmaceutical industry. Important partners and licensees include DSM Biologics, sanofi aventis, GSK and Merck & Co. Crucell is headquartered in Leiden (the Netherlands), with subsidiaries in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Korea and the US. The Company employs over a 1000 people. For more information, please visit www.crucell.com.