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Max Planck Innovation and AmVac Enter Partnership for the Development of Novel Vaccines

Max Planck Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer agency of the Max Planck Society, has closed a license agreement with Swiss AmVac AG, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative vaccines. Under the terms of the agreement, AmVac obtains the exclusive right to further develop and commercialize a technology that enables the design and production of a new class of vaccines with improved safety and efficacy. In return, Max Planck Innovation receives upfront and milestone payments as well as royalties on future sales. In addition, the Max Planck Society obtains an equity stake in AmVac.

The technology is based on the pioneering work of Prof. Neubert, Head of the Research Group Molecular Virology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, and his team. By modifying the backbone of Sendai Virus (a pathogen which does not affect humans) the scientists have created a new vaccine prototype that cannot replicate but effectively induce host cells to produce an antigen of choice. As was shown in preclinical studies, this triggers the full arsenal of immune response mechanisms against the antigen, just like a natural infection or a living vaccine. At the same time, there is no risk that the virus will replicate, spread throughout the body or induce a persistent infection.

“We therefore expect our new vaccines to combine the efficacy of living vaccines with exceptionally high safety standards,” Prof. Neubert says. “This is particularly valuable for the treatment of babies, elderly and patients with debilitated immune systems. I look very much forward to working together with the AmVac team to further validate our approach and advance it towards the clinic and market.”

By means of reverse genetics, the vaccine can be easily adapted to induce the expression of various antigens that are relevant to the treatment of multiple diseases. In addition, an effective production process using recombinant helper cells for the replication of the vaccine has been established.

“The technology provides for an extremely versatile platform that could enable vaccination in patient groups and indications where so far no effective preventive treatment exists,” Dr Stein-Gerlach, Patent and License Manager with Max Planck Innovation, adds. “We have carefully evaluated different routes of commercialization and found a perfect fit with AmVac. We are most impressed by the expertise and dedicated network of the team that will be instrumental in developing the technology to its full potential.”

The partners intend to set up a Munich-based R&D subsidiary of AmVac to further validate and develop the platform. The most advanced project is a vaccine against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) to prevent respiratory infections. This vaccine will be applied intra-nasally to avoid discomfort and problems associated with injections and to stimulate local mucosal immunity in the first line defense against airborne microorganisms.

Press Conference
A press conference on the topic “Milestone in the Development of Vaccines” with representatives of AmVac AG, the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Innovation GmbH, the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and Ascenion GmbH will take place:

The conference will be held in German. For further information, please contact:
Ariane Meynert, AmVac AG, Tel: +49 172 7759212,

Notes to editors

About Max Planck Innovation GmbH
Max Planck Innovation advises and supports scientists of the Max Planck Society in evaluating inventions and filing patent applications. Max Planck Innovation markets patents and technologies to industry and coaches founders of new companies based on research results from Max Planck Institutes.
Every year, Max Planck Innovation evaluates about 130 inventions, of which about 80 lead to the filing of a patent application. In the last five years alone, Max Planck Innovation advised 28 spin-offs, closed more than 450 license deals and generated proceeds of more than 100 million Euros for inventors, institutes and the Max Planck Society. As a result, Max Planck Innovation is among the world's most successful technology transfer organizations.
Max Planck Innovation was founded in 1970 as Garching Instrumente GmbH and operated under the name of Garching Innovation from 1993 to 2006.

Contacts for Max Planck Innovation:
Dr Matthias Stein-Gerlach, Patent and License Manager
Tel: + 49 89 29 09 19-18,
Dr Jörn Erselius, Managing Director
Tel: + 49 89 29 09 19-0,

About the Research Group Molecular Virology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Basic research activities of the group deal with description of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complex of paramyxoviruses, its protein components and their functions. On that basis recombinant paramyxoviral mutants have been developed to serve as a new vaccine principle and in oncolytic virotherapy. Further basic studies are focussed on a possible involvement of measles virus in aetiopathogenesis of otosclerosis.

Contacts for the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry:
Prof. Dr Wolfgang Neubert, Molecular Virology
Tel: +49 89 85 78 - 2268,
Eva-Maria Diehl, Public Relations
Tel: +49 89 85 78- 2824,

About AmVac AG
AMVAC AG is a young biopharmaceutical company based in Switzerland that is concentrating in the high-yield pharmaceutical industry on an especially high-growth market segment. AMVAC products are further characterized by meeting unfulfilled therapy requirements in the fields of urology and gynecology. AMVAC has to date licensed and further developed two advanced immunotherapeutic drugs with gold standard potential. Further products are in the planning stage.

Contact for AmVac AG:
Ariane Meynert, Head of Communications
Tel: +49 172 77 59 21 2,

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Markus Berninger
Phone: (089) 290919-30