Vector-Based Platform Gains Merck Partnership

Themis Bioscience MV-CHIK is a vaccine candidate against Chikungunya virus

researcher looking thru a microscope

Austria-based Themis Bioscience announced a research collaboration and exclusive license agreement with Merck for the discovery and development of undisclosed vaccine candidates using Themis’ vector-based platform

Under the terms of this agreement announced on August 22, 2019, Themis ‘will develop vaccine candidates against an undisclosed disease target.’

This partnership could mean a Chikungunya preventive vaccine would finally be developed.

Themis has demonstrated the potential of its versatile platform through the rapid and successful completion of a Phase 2 clinical study for MV-CHIK, a vaccine candidate against Chikungunya.

The Chikungunya virus causes clinical illness in 72-92 percent of infected humans around 4 to 7 days after an infected mosquito bite. Complications resulting from the disease include visual, neurological, heart and gastrointestinal manifestations.

As of August 1, 2019, a total of 40 chikungunya virus disease cases with illness onset in 2019 have been reported to ArboNET from 17 U.S. states. All reported cases occurred in travelers returning from affected areas.

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Additionally, there have been 2 locally acquired cases reported from Puerto Rico.

“Given the versatility of our immune-modulation platform and our proven ability to rapidly generate product candidates across a broad range of infectious disease and cancer indications, our partnership with Merck validates the potential of our measles virus-based technology,” said Erich Tauber, MD, CEO of Themis Bioscience.

This Themis press release said ‘Merck will provide research funding and make an equity investment in Themis.’

Themis is developing immunomodulation therapies for infectious diseases and cancer. Through advanced understanding of immune system mechanisms, the Company has built a sophisticated and versatile technology platform for the discovery, development, and production of vaccines, as well as other immune system activation, approaches.

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