MedImmune Licenses Reverse Genetics Technology to Japan's BIKEN for Use in Influenza Vaccine Development and Production

MedImmune announced today that it has licensed its proprietary reverse genetics intellectual property to BIKEN

GAITHERSBURG, MD, USA | September 29, 2008 | MedImmune announced today that it has licensed its proprietary reverse genetics intellectual property to BIKEN, The Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University in Japan to support the development and construction of new vaccine strains to produce non-live human influenza vaccines. Reverse genetics is a method by which viruses such as influenza can be generated from segments of DNA. For potential pandemic influenza vaccines, reverse genetics can be a useful technology because the process does not require manufacturers to work directly with potentially highly infectious pandemic strains, such as H5N1, rather only with segments of the virus's genome.

"MedImmune is pleased to license our reverse genetics technology to BIKEN as we have previously to four other influenza vaccine manufacturers," said Sun Park, MedImmune's vice president, corporate development. "BIKEN is the first Japanese influenza vaccine manufacturer to have entered into licensing agreements with MedImmune for access to the reverse genetics technology, and we are pleased that BIKEN's pre-pandemic vaccine using this technology is a key part of an ongoing Japanese government public health pilot program to vaccinate about 6,000 first responders and healthcare providers against a potential bird flu outbreak."

MedImmune will receive an upfront payment and has the potential to receive royalties on certain vaccine stockpiles or sales of other influenza products developed using the reverse genetics technology.

Most influenza vaccine manufacturing companies and governmental agencies are now using reverse genetics technology in their development of pandemic vaccine candidates because it allows them to avoid working directly with the infectious, circulating pandemic strains. As the owner or exclusive licensee of key patent estates for use of the reverse genetics technology in human influenza vaccines, MedImmune has offered other influenza vaccine manufacturers non-exclusive licenses to these intellectual property estates for use in manufacturing seasonal or pandemic vaccines.

In a first for any influenza vaccine manufacturer, MedImmune applied the reverse genetics process to the development of its seasonal live, attenuated nasal spray influenza vaccine for the 2008-2009 season.

Since December of 2006, MedImmune has licensed its reverse genetics technology to CSL Limited of Australia, sanofi pasteur, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline.

About MedImmune

MedImmune is wholly owned by AstraZeneca plc (LSE: AZN.L, NYSE: AZN) and is the worldwide biologics business for the AstraZeneca Group. The company has approximately 3,000 employees worldwide and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. MedImmune strives to provide better medicines to patients, new medical options for physicians and rewarding careers to employees. Dedicated to advancing science and medicine to help people live better lives, the company is focused on infection, oncology, respiratory disease and inflammation, cardiovascular/gastrointestinal disease and neuroscience. For more information, visit MedImmune's website at

SOURCE MedImmune

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