Biotech startup adds Pfizer meningitis vaccine to product portfolio

A biotechnology startup led by a Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) veteran has acquired a vaccine to guard against meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia.

The Meningitec vaccine, acquired from Pfizer for an undisclosed amount, will be used to help the company expand into new markets and combat bacterial diseases caused by Neisseria meningitidis, Richard Dinovitz, vice president for marketing and business development at Nuron Biotech, said in a statement.

Exton, Pennsylvania-based Nuron Biotech has been building a portfolio of vaccines from acquisitions and licensing agreements.

Last year, it added a Hib vaccination from Wyeth, owned by Pfizer. Hib bacteria used to be the most common bacterial meningitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, responsible for about 20,000 cases of Hib disease each year in the U.S. That was before the development of the Hib vaccine. Germs caused by the bacteria invade parts of the body that are normally free from germs and worsen the effects of the disease, and cause hospitalization or even death. Although it retains the license to market the vaccine in the U.S. and other markets, it inked a licensing agreement with Mitsubishi Tanabe earlier this year for the Japanese markets, for which it will receive significant royalties.


It also licensed an Alzheimer’s vaccine in the preclinical stage from Texas-based VITRUVIAN Biomedical in April. The amyloid beta vaccine uses a piece of the gene coding for the amyloid beta protein to stimulate an immune response. Antibodies attack and reduce the amyloid beta in the body that contribute to the plaque deposits in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

It also owns exclusive licenses for technology and product rights for hepatitis B and C, acquired from Canadian firm Akshaya Bio. An estimated 380 million people are infected with hepatitis B, for which there is no known cure. Phase 1 trials of the vaccine platform are slated for 2013.


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