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PowderMed's Vaccines: Out of Chiron, Into the Clinic

The £542 million ($959 million) that Chiron Corp. spent acquiring PowderJect Pharmaceuticals PLC in mid-2003 was a move by the US company to get its hands on PowderJect's thriving Fluvirin influenza vaccine business and, oddly enough, bulk up its infrastructure on its home soil.

BioPharmaceutical Strategy

PowderMed's Vaccines: Out of Chiron, Into the Clinic

The spinout of PowderJect's DNA vaccine technology following that company's acquisition by Chiron in mid-2003 was no surprise-these powder-injection assets are far too early-stage in the context of Chiron's vaccines pipeline. But newly minted PowderMed is no ordinary start-up. Despite the high-risk nature of its technology, the firm begins life with £20 million from four blue chip VCs, Big Pharma endorsement provided by GSK, five projects expected to enter the clinic within two years, and management that has overseen development of these products for more than six years.

BioPharmaceutical Europe

Xanthus Life Sciences Inc.

Xanthus is pursuing personalized medicine in a way quite different from pharmacogenomics players: rather than exclude patients from treatment, this start-up aims to optimize drug dosing for everyone--beginning with anti-cancer compounds. Instead of relying on genes that may or may not be activated, Xanthus is gauging phenotypic factors, traits that are already physically manifest.

BioPharmaceutical Platform Technologies

MedImmune Reaches for a Blockbuster

MedImmune Inc. is reaching for a blockbuster through its acquisition of Aviron, whose nasally inhaled flu vaccine FluMist now seems close to winning FDA approval--perhaps in time for the 2002 flu season. Aviron has struggled to develop the product, particularly with regulatory and marketing issues that MedImmune has shown it can handle well.

BioPharmaceutical Business Strategies
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