Dutch company Crucell has granted a license for its PER.C6 cell line technology to Novavax of the USA, allowing the latter company to start offering contract manufacturing services for vaccines.
The deal comes at a time when Crucell has been experiencing a downturn in license revenues from PER.C6 - which is used in the manufacture and research of biopharmaceuticals - although the company insists that fluctuations in income from licenses are common.
Novavax will offer manufacturing services for clinical grade materials based on PER.C6 to governments and academia, with a focus on inactivated, subunit and attenuated viral vaccines. In addition, the company will use the technology for research on two of its own vaccine products.
Dr Louis Potash, Novavax' director of virology, said: "the use of the PER.C6 cell line should provide us with a more efficient and cost effective method of producing a broad variety of vaccines, including vaccines targeted at vaccinia and Dengue viruses.
"More specifically, by comparing data generated from virus yields in PER.C6 monolayer and cell suspension cultures to Novavax' current monolayer cell culture systems, we hope to demonstrate significantly higher virus yields with the PER.C6 cell line," he added.
Under the terms of the agreement, Crucell will receive upfront and annual payments, as well as royalties on contract manufacturing sales by Novavax. Further financial details were not disclosed.
"This deal will meet the market's increasing need for PER.C6 based vaccine manufacturing services," said Crucell CEO Dinko Valerio. The company has now signed up 30 licensees for the technology.