Pfizer to Acquire PowderMed, Enter DNA-Based Vaccine Market

October 12, 2006
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

New York (Oct. 9)-Pfizer has positioned itself to enter the DNA-based vaccine market with its agreement to acquire UK-based PowderMed Ltd., which holds a pipeline of DNA-based influenza vaccines currently in clinical development for treating both seasonal and avian flu.

New York (Oct. 9)-Pfizer (www.pfizer.com) has positioned itself to enter the DNA-based vaccine market with its agreement to acquire UK-based PowderMed Ltd. (Oxford, www.powdermed.com), which holds a pipeline of DNA-based influenza vaccines currently in clinical development for treating both seasonal and avian flu. Its most advanced candidate is a seasonal influenza vaccine, now entering Phase II studies.

PowderMed’s portfolio also includes Phase I formulations for herpes simplex virus (HSV) and chronic hepatitis B (HBV) and a preclinical candidate for treating genital warts (HPV).

Pfizer hopes PowderMed’s DNA-based technology will lead to new vaccines that are easier to use and store than current vaccines and will be more quickly adaptable to changing influenza strains. The technology has generated vaccines that are stable at room temperature, thereby potentially eliminating the need for cold storage.

The company’s needle-free delivery system also could allow self-administration of the vaccine. The formulations are based on the company’s “Particle Mediated Epidermal Delivery” (PMED) technology, which delivers DNA-coated microscopic gold particles into the skin using pressurized helium gas. PMED vaccines have been shown to elicit both antibody and cell-mediated immune responses. (Click here to see PowderMed's flu brochure)

“While research is at an early stage, DNA-based vaccines may be the next major innovation against the threat of influenza and other chronic viral diseases,” said John LaMattina, president of Pfizer Global Research and Development.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced.