The OMX Nordic Exchange Copenhagen has brought little joy to stock watchers of late, but on Monday this week the Danish vaccine company Pharmexa saw its shares leap 6% against the backdrop of a falling market. The reason was a press release from Pharmexa announcing that it has entered a licence agreement with the biotech firm Ichor Medical Systems, based in San Diego, CA.
The agreement concerns the co-development of Pharmexa's DNA-based vaccines delivered using Ichor's TriGrid electroporation device which – to put it in non-technical terms – enables a great deal more of the vaccine to enter the cells than is possible with other methods, and thus boosts vaccine potency.
Pharmexa reveals in the press release that a key focus area of the co-development is a novel universal influenza vaccine candidate designed to provide greater protection for the elderly, a growing population group especially vulnerable to the virus. Another co-development programme will focus on a vaccine against malaria.
"We believe that electroporation-mediated delivery of DNA vaccines has the potential to revolutionize the DNA vaccine field," says Pharmexa's CEO Marc Hertz in the press release. "Rationally designed vaccines, such as the universal influenza vaccine, combined with superior delivery technologies, may provide new opportunities for prophylaxis and treatment of important diseases."
Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, but the two companies will share the costs and rewards of the joint programs, writes Pharmexa.
Pharmexa A/S specialises in vaccines for the treatment of cancer, and serious chronic and infectious diseases. Besides the new deal with Ichor Medical Systems, the company has collaborative agreements with H. Lundbeck, GENimmune, IDM Pharma and Bavarian Nordic. Pharmexa has operations in Denmark, Norway and the US, and is listed on the OMX Nordic Exchange Copenhagen.