GSK and Intercell to develop innovative needle-free patch-based vaccines

Belgium-based GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals SA has signed a deal to buy into Austrian biotechnology company Intercell, with whom it will collaborate  to accelerate the development and commercialisation of needle-free, patch-based vaccines.

Patch technology opens up a new way of vaccine delivery that is needle free. The technology which can be used to enhance the effect of injected vaccines through vaccine enhancement patch (VE patch) and develop new vaccines, which require transcutaneous administration because the antigen cannot be delivered safely through other routes of administration.

Under the agreement, GSK will make an up-front cash contribution of € 33.6 (£30) million, an equity infusion of up to € 84 (£75) million through a staggered shareholding purchase option of up to 5 per cent in Intercell.

The agreement will include Intercell's candidate vaccine for travellers' diarrhoea (TD) and an investigational single application pandemic influenza vaccine, as well as the use of the patch technology for other vaccines in GSK's portfolio.

Included in the agreement are Intercell's investigational TD vaccine, currently in Phase III, and an investigational single application pandemic influenza vaccine in Phase II, as well as other potential future patch vaccines.

''This novel technology has real potential to change the way vaccines are delivered in the future. GSK has an extensive portfolio of vaccines and we believe needle-free vaccination could offer benefits such as simplified administration and increased compliance.'' said Jean Stephenne, president of GSK Biologicals. ''This agreement demonstrates how, as an integral part of our R&D programme, we not only look at new vaccines but also at alternative approaches to oral and intramuscular administration.''