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Astellas, Affinivax to develop MAPS vaccine targeting pneumococcal disease

Affinivax and Astellas Pharma have signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement to develop and market a vaccine targeting Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).

The partnership will utilize Affinivax’s proprietary vaccine technology platform – Multiple Antigen Presenting System (MAPS) – to advance a novel MAPS vaccine targeted to prevent and reduce the spread of pneumococcal disease.

Astellas senior VP and chief strategy officer Kenji Yasukawa said: “I am pleased to enter into this agreement and partner with Affinivax to develop a pneumococcal vaccine using their novel MAPS technology.

“Astellas expects to provide a new option to prevent pneumococcal disease with high unmet medical needs by developing innovative MAPS vaccine as part of our commitment to serve patients interests worldwide.”

Astellas will lead and fully fund the development program and will obtain worldwide rights to commercialize the MAPS vaccine for pneumococcal disease.

Affinivax will receive an initial upfront payment of $10m from Astellas and will be eligible to receive a range of development milestones and commercial milestones. In addition, Affinivax will receive tiered royalties on any future product sales. 

The MAPS vaccine platform is designed to enable the high affinity binding of protective polysaccharides and proteins in a single vaccine, offering the potential to provide broader protection against invasive disease) than currently available vaccines, as well as the potential to reduce nasopharyngeal colonization (the first step in disease transmission).

 To date, Affinivax has advanced its novel vaccine targeting pneumococcus through nonclinical proof-of-concept studies.

Affinivax CEO Steven B. Brugger said: "We are very pleased that Astellas has recognized the significant potential of our MAPS pneumococcal vaccine.

“We are excited to join forces with Astellas to advance a vaccine which can offer such an important global benefit for pneumococcal disease and contribute to Astellas’ impact with its global vaccine franchise”

There is no impact of this transaction on Astellas' financial results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.