Dutch firm Crucell has expanded its licensing agreement with US drug major Merck & Co relating to PER.C6, the former's proprietary cell technology platform used for the production of biopharmaceutical products. PER.C6 is an immortalised human cell line that is suitable for producing protein-based drugs and vaccines on a commercial scale.
Merck has an existing license with Crucell to use PER.C6 in the development of an adenovirus-based vaccine against HIV, and has now extended this R&D agreement to include unnamed therapeutic protein, including monoclonal antibodies.
Perhaps more significantly, however, Merck has also taken up a licence to Crucell's PER.C6 Cell Substrate Biologics Master File (BB-MF 8453), which is the dossier for the technology filed with the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory authorities. Companies who make use of the PER.C6 platform must refer to this document when filing for approval of products based on the technology, so Merck's decision to extend licence implies that it has made progress with the HIV vaccine programme.