Agenus, Inc., announces agreement to develop Ebola and Marburg vaccine

Agenus, Inc., has announced a licensing agreement with Integrated BioTherapeutics, Inc., to use the QS-21 Stimulon® adjuvant to develop a vaccine against the Ebola and Marburg viruses.

QS-21 has been widely tested as a vaccine adjuvant and it has been licensed by GlaxoSmithKline and Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy to develop various preventative vaccine formulations. It is used in several investigational treatments for cancer and degenerative disorders.

"QS-21 is currently in development in 15 vaccine candidates, of which four are in Phase 3 clinical studies," Garo H. Armen, chairman and CEO of Agenus, Inc., said. "Today's announcement broadens the potential application of QS-21 into vaccines for biodefensive countermeasures. We are pleased to be involved so early in such an important government-funded program."
Natural outbreaks of Ebola and Marburg virus infection tend to occur in resource poor areas in sub-Saharan Africa.

The project is representative of a significant biodefense initiative. IBT was awarded a multi-year contract in September 2008 to develop a vaccine to protect against Ebola and Marburg viruses from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

The ultimate objective of the program is to develop a safe and effective vaccine that will protect against Sudan, Zaire and Cote d’Ivoire strains of the bola virus and multiple isolates of the Marburg virus. The vaccine will use virus-like particles that are very similar to the authentic virus and were developed by IBT’s founders and their colleagues at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

As part of the agreement, Agenus is entitled to receive a license fee, milestone payments and worldwide royalties on net sales of the vaccine product.

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