Japanese firm Takeda has announced that it will acquire Inviragen for an upfront payment of US$35 million, and future payments of up to $215 million. With the acquisition also comes Inviragen's advanced vaccine candidate against dengue, DENVax, which recently moved into the second stage of Phase II trials.
"The acquisition of Inviragen supports Takeda's overall research and development programs, long-term growth strategy and commitment to improve health through innovation and new technology," said Tadataka Yamada, M.D., Takeda's chief medical and scientific officer and member of the Takeda board of directors.
"This acquisition combines Inviragen's expertise in viral vaccine research and development and our extensive worldwide network of preclinical and clinical collaborators with Takeda's resources, product development expertise, and global reach. Together we are well-positioned to bring these promising vaccine candidates to the market," said Dan Stinchcomb, Ph.D., Inviragen's chief executive officer.
The dengue viruses are endemic throughout the world's subtropical and tropical regions, threatening over 3.6 billion people. The disease is caused by one of four different RNA viruses: serotypes DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, DEN-4. While Sanofi Pasteur's dengue vaccine showed encouraging Phase IIb results, it reportedly failed to protect against DEN-2, and DENVax has the potential to neutralise all four strains. The play-off between Takeda and Sanofi to be first to market a dengue vaccine will be an interesting one to watch.
Inviragen has been developing vaccines against some important emerging infectious diseases, with a pipeline that also comprises vaccines against hand, food and mouth disease and the mosquito-borne disease chikungunya (see 10 most important infectious diseases with no licensed vaccine).
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