Drug developer Vical Inc. said Thursday that it has signed a global licensing agreement with Astellas Pharma Inc. to develop and commercialize a drug aimed at preventing a potentially fatal virus in stem-cell transplant patients.
The companies expect to begin a multinational, Phase 3 registration trial of the cytomegalovirus vaccine, dubbed TransVax, in certain stem-cell transplant recipients. They also plan a Phase 2 trial in solid organ transplant recipients in the first half of next year.
Cytomegalovirus can cause respiratory illness and is suppressed by the immune system in most people. But it can cause transplant rejection if it flares up when a transplant recipient's immune system is suppressed during recovery.
The companies' pact calls for Astellas to cover all costs to develop the drug further and commercialize it.
Vical has an option to co-promote TransVax in the U.S., and will assist Astellas in manufacturing the drug, as well as in handling regulatory and certain development functions.
In return, Astellas has agreed to reimburse all of Vical's future costs, including personnel and external expenses.
Vical is scheduled to receive $35 million in payments, but could potentially receive up to $130 million in total upfront and milestone payments through commercial launch and double-digit royalties on net sales, the company said.
Vical shares gained 50 cents, or 11.6 percent, to $4.80 in aftermarket trading. The shares shed 18 cents, or 4 percent, during the regular session.