Is Transgene closing in on a major collaboration?

Analysts are eager to see France's Transgene nail down a licensing pact for the promising lung cancer vaccine TG4010. Pierre Corby, an analyst at Aurel BGC, told Bloomberg two weeks ago that he had heard directly from CEO Philippe Archinard that deal terms were already set and that Pfizer, Roche, Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis were all possible players.

Transgene has done little to tamp down the buzz. The French developer said at the beginning of December that it expected to have a collaboration pact on TG4010 completed by the end of 2009. And whoever it is will need to have deep pockets to cover an estimated $30 million to $50 million to test the vaccine on roughly 1,000 people in a late-stage trial.

In a clinical trial the therapeutic vaccine prolonged the median survival time of patients with the disease. Twice as many patients responded to a combination of the vaccine and chemo as responded to chemo alone. "It's two times better than what we have today, than other products for non-small cell lung cancer," said Arnaud Guerin, an analyst at Portzamparc Societe de Bourse SA. The therapy won fast-track status at the beginning of December.

Still, the biotech company is staying mum. A spokesperson told Bloomberg that an announcement from the company could arrive in early March.

- here's the article from Bloomberg