The results of that research led to the full licensure of ONCEPT. Merial obtained licensing rights from Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Dr. Philip Bergman, and, using their access to and experience with DNA vaccine technology licensed from Vical Incorporated (Nasdaq: VICL), completed the industrialization and regulatory requirements for full licensure. The vaccine will be administered via a Canine Transdermal Device, which delivers the vaccine without the use of a needle.(5) The device was developed in conjunction with Bioject, Inc., a Portland-based drug delivery company (OTC Bulletin Board: BJCT).
"The Canine Transdermal Device makes administration of the vaccine easy and quick for oncologists and their patients, leaving one less worry for dog owners dealing with their pet's cancer treatment" said Dr. Richard Stout, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Bioject. "We are proud to work with Merial in bringing this breakthrough product to market."
"The approval of ONCEPT is a milestone in the cancer vaccine field and a significant advancement for our DNA delivery technology platform," said Vijay B. Samant, Vical's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Therapeutic vaccines -- the holy grail of vaccinology -- are delivered after disease onset to impede disease progress for the patient's benefit. We believe this achievement is a major step toward the initial approvals of therapeutic vaccines for humans."
ONCEPT is available for use by specialists practicing veterinary oncology, so pet owners will want to ask their veterinarians about how best to access this treatment option.Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 5,700 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2009 sales were $2.6 billion. Merial is the Animal Health subsidiary of sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see www.merial.com. Bioject Medical Technologies Inc., based in Portland, Oregon, is an innovative developer and manufacturer of needle-free injection therapy systems (NFITS). NFITS provide an empowering technology and work by forcing medication at high speed through a tiny orifice held against the skin. This creates a fine stream of high-pressure fluid penetrating the skin and depositing medication in the tissue beneath. The Company is focused on developing mutually beneficial agreements with leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and veterinary companies. For more information about Bioject, visit www.bioject.com. Vical researches and develops biopharmaceutical products based on its patented DNA delivery technologies for the prevention and treatment of serious or life-threatening diseases. Potential applications of the company's DNA delivery technology include DNA vaccines for infectious diseases or cancer, in which the expressed protein is an immunogen; cancer immunotherapeutics, in which the expressed protein is an immune system stimulant; and cardiovascular therapies, in which the expressed protein is an angiogenic growth factor. Additional information on Vical is available at www.vical.com. (1) Bergman PJ, Wolchok JD. Of Mice and Men (and Dogs): development of a xenogeneic DNA vaccine program for canine malignant melanoma. Cancer Therapy 2008;6:817-826. (2) Data on file at Merial. Study 05-171. 2009.