Xenova Group PLC
14 August 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Xenova Group plc
Phogen signs £15m ($21m) licensing collaboration with Genencor for VP22
Slough, UK, 14th August 2001 - Xenova Group plc (Nasdaq NM: XNVA; London Stock
Exchange: XEN) today announces that its joint venture company, Phogen, has
signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Palo Alto, California
based Genencor International, Inc (Nasdaq NM: GCOR) for the application of
Phogen's VP22 technology to the development of a limited number of therapeutic
vaccines for certain infectious viral diseases.
Phogen's VP22 technology enables the spreading of peptides and proteins from
one cell directly into neighbouring cells, increasing the delivery efficiency
of DNA-based vaccines. This may overcome one of the major challenges in the
field of gene therapy and molecular medicine, namely the delivery of the
desired genes or proteins to a sufficient number of target cells to elicit a
therapeutic response. Vaccines may also be formulated using vectosome
technology, in which DNA-based constructs are encapsulated using VP22 protein
to increase intracellular uptake and hence potential clinical benefit.
Phogen's VP22 technology has broad applications in a number of areas in
addition to therapeutic vaccines, such as gene therapy, diagnostics, target
validation and genomics and plant technology. Data relating to VP22 was
published in the 4 May issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, which
highlighted the light-activated properties of the technology. This property
is of particular interest for cell-based screens and assays and for
photodynamic therapy, allowing the delivery of test molecules to specific
cells and/or tissues.
Genencor will initially evaluate Phogen's proprietary VP22 technology for
vaccines to treat diseases including hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HBV) and
human papilloma virus (HPV). Genencor has also licensed an opt-in provision,
which potentially provides Genencor with expanded access to the technology for
application to additional therapeutic vaccine products in the field of
infectious viral diseases and cancer.
Under the terms of the agreement, Phogen will receive up front licence fees,
research and development funding and annual licence maintenance fees, as well
as further payments on the attainment of clinical and regulatory milestones,
plus royalties. The licence agreement with Genencor will potentially provide
Phogen with revenues of over £15m ($21m), including £1.2m ($1.7m) in the first
year in licence, option and contract research payments, plus undisclosed
royalties following product launches.
David Oxlade, Chief Executive of Xenova, commented:
'The commercial potential in this collaboration is highly significant, yet
represents only a small area within the scope of opportunities offered by
Phogen's VP22 technology. This relationship with Genencor represents an
important foundation for Phogen as it begins to unlock the considerable
potential of its wide-ranging drug delivery technology.'
Debby Jo Blank, Genencor's Chief Business Officer, said:
'We believe the Phogen technology is very strong. Adding this to our existing
in-house portfolio gives us the ability to optimise our lead vaccine product
Xenova Group plc Financial Dynamics
David Oxlade, Chief Executive Officer David Yates/Fiona Noblet
Daniel Abrams, Finance Director Tel: +44(0) 207 831 3113
Hilary Reid Evans, Head of Corporate Communications
Tel: +44(0) 1753 706600
Liz Rollinson, Commercial Director
+44(0) 1223 436509
+1 716 256 5272
A presentation for analysts will be held at 9am at the offices of Nomura
International plc, Nomura House, 1 St. Martin's le Grand, London EC1A 4NP.
Please contact Mo Noonan on 0207 269 7116 for further details.
Notes to Editors
Phogen is a UK-based biopharmaceutical company established to develop and
commercialise technology based on the protein VP22 for enhancing drug and gene
delivery. The company is a joint venture between Xenova Group plc and Marie
Curie Cancer Care (MCCC) the UK's most comprehensive cancer care organisation.
VP22 technology has wide potential applications both for the enhancement of
gene delivery efficiency and for light-activated intracellular delivery of
oligonucleotides, proteins and peptides.
Xenova Group plc's product pipeline focuses principally on the therapeutic
area of cancer, with a secondary focus on infectious, autoimmune and
cardiovascular diseases. The Group has a well-established track record in the
identification, development and partnering of innovative products and
technologies and has partnerships with a number of major pharmaceutical
companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Lilly, Pfizer and Celltech.
For further information about Xenova and its products please visit the Xenova
website at www.xenova.co.uk.
Genencor is a diversified biotechnology company that develops and delivers
innovative products and services into the health care, agriculture, industrial
and consumer markets. Using an integrated set of technology platforms,
Genencor's products deliver innovative and sustainable solutions to many of
the problems of everyday life.
Genencor was established in 1982 as a joint venture between Genentech Inc. and
Corning Incorporated. Since its founding, Genecor has grown to become a
leading biotechnology company, with over $315 million in year 2000 revenues,
more than 250 biotechnology products in commerce, and over 3,400 owned and
licensed patents and applications. Genencor, with more than 1,500 employees
worldwide, has principal offices in Palo Alto, California; Rochester, New
York, and Leiden, the Netherlands.
Safe Harbor Statement under the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
1995: Some or all of the statements in this document that relate to future
plans, expectations, events, performances and the like are forward-looking
statements, as defined in the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
1995. Actual results of events could differ materially from those described
in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including those
set forth in the Company's filings with the US Securities and Exchange