Immunomic Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing a new type of vaccine based on Johns Hopkins research, has reached a $300 million deal licensing its technology to Japanese company Astellas Pharma. Astellas will be able to use Immunomic’s vaccine design to develop products that treat or prevent allergic diseases under the deal. Immunomic will receive an up-front $300 million payment and then 10 percent royalties on sales Astellas gets using the technology. It also retains the rights to use its vaccine methods on other types of diseases, including cancer.
Hershey, Pennsylvania-based Immunomic, which has a lab in Rockville, said its vaccines are more effective than others because they use a key DNA sequence from proteins found in any given pathogen to trigger an immune response. Other vaccines use the proteins themselves to trick the immune system into fighting a virus or other pathogen, and other vaccines using DNA don’t use the same key sequence Immunomic does, the company said.
The science behind Immunomic’s vaccine design emerged from research by Dr. Tom August, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences and oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.