MedImmune on Monday announced a development deal worth up to $727 million--$27 million upfront--to acquire exclusive rights to Inovio Pharmaceuticals' HPV cancer vaccine INO-3112 and to develop additional cancer vaccine candidates.
Two deaths were reported by South Korea related to Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, with at least 25 people infected with the virus, Bloomberg News said, citing the country's health ministry from a televised briefing Tuesday.
Another vaccine hopeful is joining the fight against Ebola. Inovio Pharmaceuticals said this week that it will move its Ebola vaccine candidate into clinical trials in the first half of 2015.
Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals took a hit Tuesday on rumors that CEO Joseph Kim was "walking back expectations" for a Phase II study of DNA vaccine candidate VGX-3100 in women with cervical precancerous lesions.
This week, the company's VGX Animal Health subsidiary sold its animal health assets--including an exclusive license with Inovio for animal DNA vaccines--to South Korea's Plumbline Life Sciences.
H7N9 activity has slowed dramatically, but health authorities fear it will return in China and possibly beyond as temperatures cool. If this happens, the advancement of vaccines should strengthen the ability of healthcare systems to protect people.
Vaccine administration has attracted increased attention in recent years, particularly for people afraid of needles. But the problems with the current options become particularly pronounced when emergency mass vaccinations are envisaged.