SAN DIEGO and TOKYO, Jan. 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vical Incorporated (Nasdaq:VICL) and AnGes MG (Tokyo:4563) announced today that they have entered into collaboration to develop and commercialize an equine polyclonal antibody therapy for patients afflicted with Ebola virus disease. No medicines or vaccines are currently approved for the treatment of Ebola.
Unlike prophylactic vaccines, which require widespread vaccinations, multiple doses and time in order to mount a protective immune response prior to exposure, polyclonal antibody therapy offers a more targeted approach of providing immediate immune globulin as a treatment against Ebola virus. Therapeutic approaches utilizing equine polyclonal antibodies have been used for the treatment of viral diseases such as rabies, bacterial toxins such as tetanus and diphtheria, as well as black widow spider venom.
The planned approach will be to isolate antibodies from the horses immunized with a DNA vaccine encoding an Ebola virus glycoprotein antigen. The antibodies will be purified and developed for the treatment of Ebola virus disease in humans.
Under the agreement, Vical will develop and provide to AnGes a DNA vaccine encoding the glycoprotein antigen of the 2014 Zaire strain of Ebola virus, formulated with Vical's proprietary Vaxfectin® adjuvant. AnGes will receive the right to exclusively develop and commercialize the equine polyclonal antibody therapy in Japan and will be responsible for all development costs. Vical will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive royalties on net sales and a percentage of payments received by AnGes under any sub-licensing agreements.
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to contribute Vical's resources and capabilities to the global fight against Ebola," said Larry R. Smith, Ph.D., Vical's Vice President of Vaccine Research. "Therapeutic interventions may be the best near-term solution for dealing with the Ebola epidemic. And historical use of polyclonal antibodies bodes well for this approach."
"We believe that the equine polyclonal antibody therapy can contribute to the measures against Ebola in Japan," said Ei Yamada, Ph.D., President and CEO of AnGes. "Thanks to Vical, we will soon start an initial study in Japan for the purpose of collecting data and optimizing the production process."
Ebola virus is a member of the Filoviridae family and can cause severe hemorrhagic fever. According to the Ebola response roadmap situation report by the World Health Organization as of December 31, 2014, over 20,000 cases of Ebola virus disease have been reported among 9 countries, with the vast majority occurring in West African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. The mortality rate for this ongoing Ebola epidemic is estimated at nearly 40%. After one full year since the index case of the current Ebola outbreak, the number of cases of Ebola virus disease continues to increase.
Vical researches and develops biopharmaceutical products leveraging its patented DNA delivery technologies for the prevention and treatment of chronic or life-threatening infectious diseases. In addition, the company has collaborations with major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies focused on addressing significant unmet medical needs. Additional information on Vical is available at www.vical.com.
AnGes is a Japanese biopharmaceutical company that specializes in research, development and practical application of genetic medicines for diseases that are intractable or rare, and have no treatments available. The company's lead program is a hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) genetic therapy designed to improve blood circulation by regenerating blood vessels, currently in Phase 3 clinical testing for the treatment of critical limb ischemia. Additional information on AnGes MG is available at www.anges-mg.com/en.
This press release contains forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Forward-looking statements include statements about Vical's focus, collaborative partners, product candidates, and development status. Risks and uncertainties include whether any product candidates will be shown to be safe and efficacious in clinical trials; the timing of clinical trials; whether Vical or its collaborative partners will seek or gain approval to market any product candidates; the dependence of the company on its collaborative partners; and additional risks set forth in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent the company's judgment as of the date of this release. The company disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
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