Sanofi Aventis signs antibody research deal with Vivalis SA

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Aventis said today that its vaccines division Sanofi Pasteur had signed a commercial licence and collaboration agreement with a local biotech company Vivalis SA for the discovery and development of fully human monoclonal antibodies against several infectious diseases.

Founded in 1999 and based in Saint-Herblain in France, Vivalis,  is a biopharmaceutical company that develops and sells cell-based solutions to the pharmaceutical industry for the manufacture of viral vaccines and therapeutic proteins.

The company also develops drugs for the prevention and treatment of viral diseases such as hepatitis C. It has a collaboration agreement with GlaxoSmithKline to develop influenza vaccines based on EB66 cell line technology.

Under the terms of the agreement signed yesterday, Sanofi Pasteur will acquire exclusive access to Vivalis' platform for the discovery of fully human monoclonal antibodies targeting clinically significant infectious diseases, and will obtain worldwide exclusive development and commercialisation rights for the discovered antibodies.

Vivalis will receive an upfront payment of €3 million and may receive development milestone payments of up to €35 million, as well as royalty payments associated with product sales.

In addition, Sanofi Pasteur will finance the research activities related to the infectious diseases programmes.