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Intravacc will license CimCure’s iBoost technology, and the companies will jointly develop a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Intravacc, a Bilthoven, The Netherlands-based translational research and development vaccine organization, announced on July 1, 2020 that it has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Dutch-based CimCure, a spin-off of the VU University Medical Center (UMC) focused on cancer immunotherapies for solid tumors, to in-license CimCure’s iBoost technology. The two companies will jointly develop a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Under the agreement, Intravacc will have access to iBoost for developing new vaccines and for providing services involving the in-licensed technique in mutually agreed countries. The technology also enables Intravacc to expand its translational expertise towards the development of cancer vaccines.
iBoost is a patented immune-boosting technology that was developed at Amsterdam UMC, lab-location VUMC, by Prof. Dr. Arjan Griffioen, professor of experimental oncology and chief scientific officer at CimCure. The technology overcomes limitations over current methods for inducing antibody responses against cancer specific antigens. It can elicit antibody responses against the tumor vasculature, a strategy that conquers the problem of drug resistance, Intravacc said in a company press release. The company pointed out that this treatment strategy has long-term efficacy and is cost-effective. Proof-of-concept has been shown in several preclinical models.
Using iBoost, Intravacc and CimCure are also jointly developing a COVID-19 vaccine, for which CimCure/Amsterdam UMC received a EUR 1.3-million (US$1.4-million) grant from Health Holland, an investment organization of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In the collaboration, CimCure will be responsible for the design and preclinical validation of three different types of COVID-19 vaccine concepts, while Intravacc will be responsible for the vaccine process development, the pilot production of the candidate vaccine under GMP conditions, and a Phase I clinical trial.
“We are excited to have signed an agreement with CimCure providing us access to the iBoost technology, which will have a game changing effect on the vaccine industry and the near future development of oncology vaccines. This agreement expands our platform offering towards potential clients and will further boost our developments within our oncology- and infectious disease vaccine portfolios," said Dr. Jan Groen, CEO of Intravacc, in the press release.
“We believe that this license agreement with Intravacc and the value of our platform outside oncology will contribute to future revenue growth of the [c]ompany,” added Diederik Engbersen, CEO of CimCure, in the press release.