October 17, 2007 11:49 ET

VIVALIS Signs a First Research Licence in the Field of Therapeutic Proteins With SANOFI-AVENTIS

NANTES, FRANCE--(Marketwire - October 17, 2007) - - October 17th, 2007 - Vivalis (Euronext : VLS) announces today having granted rights to SANOFI- AVENTIS to evaluate EBx® cell lines, cell substrates derived from avian embryonic stem cells, for the production of monoclonal antibodies.

The financial terms of this agreement remains confidential.

This agreement follows those signed with MAT BIOPHARMA and INNATE PHARMA (Euronext:IPH) and confirms on the one hand the wide spectrum of applications for EBx® technology developed by VIVALIS, and on the other hand, the interest of big pharma players for this platform to produce monoclonal antibodies (a class of therapeutic proteins), specifically in the field of anti-cancer drugs.

This is the first licence granted by VIVALIS in the field of monoclonal antibody production, the second major development axis of VIVALIS.

This market represents for VIVALIS, an even greater potential than that for vaccines. Indeed, the monoclonal antibodies market is estimated today at approximately $20 billion, almost twice the vaccines market. This is the reason why VIVALIS is actively developing the use of its breakthrough technology to produce antibodies.

Franck Grimaud, VIVALIS CEO declared : "VIVALIS is pleased to enter into this agreement with one of the world pharma leaders and to participate to SANOFI-AVENTIS R&D efforts to evaluate VIVALIS EBx® cell lines potential to express monoclonal antibodies with improved biological activities".

About recombinant proteins production in EBx® cell lines

Monoclonal antibodies represent an important class of biotherapeutic products. A significant fraction of the monoclonal antibodies currently on the market or under development are for the treatment of cancers or auto-immune diseases, acting via Antibody Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity (ADCC) mechanism.

Nowadays, there is great interest in developing monoclonal antibodies with improved biological activities, in order to reduce therapeutic doses and manufacturing costs.

VIVALIS has developed proprietary EBx® cell lines derived from duck embryonic stem cells, that present interesting industrial and regulatory characteristics, in particular cell growth to high cell density (> 10 million cells/ml) in suspension in serum free medium. EBx® cell lines are already widely endorsed by the human and veterinary pharmaceutical industries for viral vaccines production, as accredited by the signature of numerous licenses, for example, SANOFI-PASTEUR, GLAXO-SMITH-KLINE, NOVARTIS VACCINES, NOBILON, CSL, BAVARIAN NORDIC, FORTDODGE, MERIAL, INTERVET and CEVA.

In the field of therapeutic proteins production, VIVALIS recently demonstrated that EBx® cells are easily genetically engineered to efficiently express recombinant proteins of interest. VIVALIS and its partners have demonstrated that the glycosylation profile of monoclonal antibodies produced in EBx® cells, is similar to human monoclonal antibodies glycosylation profile, with the remarkable additional feature of allowing a better cytotoxic activity to antibodies, since avian cells produce antibodies with a reduced fucose content.

EBx® cells have thus the potential to constitute a novel cellular platform for recombinant protein production, and, in particular monoclonal antibodies having an improved cytotoxic activity. The business model is identical to the one signed in the vaccine field: upfront payment, milestones payment and royalties on clients sales.


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Vivalis (Euronext: VLS) is a biopharmaceutical company specialised in vaccines and in viral diseases. VIVALIS' know-how and proprietary technologies are commercially exploited in three main areas:

- Vaccine development and manufacturing. VIVALIS grants research & commercial licences to its proprietary ebx® embryonic stem cell lines to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies active in the viral vaccine business.

- Recombinant therapeutic protein and monoclonal antibody expression systems development. VIVALIS partners with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in this area, to which it licences its proprietary ebx® embryonic stem cell lines to manufacture recombinant therapeutic proteins.

- The build-up of a proprietary portfolio of vaccines and anti- viral molecules.

Based in Nantes (France), Vivalis was created in 1999 by Group GRIMAUD (1350 employees), the n degrees2 group worldwide in avian genetic breeding. Vivalis has established several partnerships with companies that are worldwide leaders in their respective fields, including Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis Vaccines, Merial and SAFC Biosciences. VIVALIS is a member of the French ATLANTIC BIOTHERAPIES cluster.

Eurolist Paris - Sector B - FR0004056851

Reuters: VLS.PA - Bloomberg: VLS FP

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