Global animal health company Merial Ltd. and non-profit biotechnology organization the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) today announce they have agreed to cooperate regarding the research and development of certain vaccines for animals. The agreement consists of a license option agreement and a sponsored research agreement.
Under the agreements, Merial has an option to use IDRI’s proprietary subunit antigens and adjuvant in a particular vaccineand will then be responsible for any vaccine development and commercialization.
Further, Merial will sponsor research at IDRI to evaluate the combination of IDRI’s and Merial’s vaccine technologies for second-generation vaccines.
While pharmaceutical companies offer a wide range of vaccines in their portfolios, there are still many unmet needs in animal health.
Efficacious and safe vaccines are required to protect not only animals but also humans, who can be vulnerable to many of the same diseases.
“This is a significant step towards aligning the control of diseases that affect both animals and humans,” said Dr. Steven G. Reed, IDRI’s Founder and Head of Research& Development. “This license is the culmination of years of research and serves as an innovative example of the power of public-private partnerships,” added Reed.
Dr. Ellen De Brabander, Merial’s Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Global R&D, said: “Merial is very much enthused by the chance to exploit in animal health some of the scientific breakthroughs emerging from IDRI’s research. Combining these opportunities with Merial’s expertise in recombinant platforms is expected to accelerate progress on several key veterinary vaccines.” Dr. Laurent Fischer of Merial and IDRI’s Dr. Ajay Bhatia will lead the research.
To align with IDRI’s non-profit and charitable mission, the agreements include global access provisions whereby resulting licensed products are guaranteed to be used in developing countries. Separate from this arrangement with Merial, IDRI is developing human vaccines.