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Trellis, MedImmune ink antibody deal

Source: San Francisco Business Times
By: Ron Leuty
12.01.2009

Trellis Bioscience Inc. sold a worldwide exclusive license that allows AstraZeneca plc’s MedImmune unit to develop and commercialize antibodies focused on respiratory syncytial virus.

MedImmune will make an upfront payment to the privately held South San Francisco company and would make additional payments for hitting development, regulatory and commercial milestones. The companies did not disclose the amount of the upfront payment but said the deal’s value could reach $338 million if a product reaches the market.

MedImmune also would pay royalty payments based on product sales.

MedImmune will be responsible for all preclinical and clinical development and commercialization of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, antibodies. Those antibodies were discovered using Trellis’ CellSpot system of high-throughput screening of human B-cells.

The system is used to isolate rare human antibodies produced from the B-cells of RSV-infected patients.

Trellis President Stote Ellsworth said the discovery of the RSV antibodies validates the CellSpot system.

Most healthy people recover from RSV, which infects the lungs and breathing passages, in one to two weeks. But the infection can be severe in infants, young children and older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis — inflammation of the small airways in the lung — and pneumonia in children under 12 months old in the United States.

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