ModeX Therapeutics, an OPKO Health Company, has entered an exclusive license and collaboration agreement with Merck (MSD), to work on the development of a nanoparticle vaccine candidate targeting the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
The deal outlines that ModeX will receive up to $875.2 million in milestone payments, with an initial payment of $50 million. The two will work together to advance ModeX’s preclinical jab, MDX-2201, and submit an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for the drug candidate. Once the jab has an accepted IND, Merck will take over the clinical and regulatory activities as well as commercialization.
MDX-2201 was designed using ModeX’s ferritin nanoparticle vaccine platform, which enables expression of up to 24 copies of a recombinant antigen on its surface, enhancing the presentation of key components of the virus.
Pre-clinical data for the jab has shown that the bivalent EBV jab elicits a significant immune response and could potentially protect from EBV lymphomas as well.