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19 May, 2006 - 09:00 By Staff Reporter

Acambis and Baxter fight Viking patent threat

Cambridge based vaccines developer Acambis and its heavyweight American partner Baxter Healthcare are going to war with Bavarian Nordic in a patent battle that is becoming increasingly bitter.

Acambis CEO Gordon Cameron said the companies would do whatever was necessary to repel the Viking invasion of their intellectual property and had evidence that was already in the public spotlight to prove their case.

The Cambridge company has filed a formal opposition to a European patent issued to Bavarian Nordic last December by the European Patent Office.

The patent relates to Bavarian Nordic's MVA technology, MVA-BN®. MVA is an attenuated smallpox vaccine, Modified Vaccinia Ankara, that has been used in Europe since the late 1970s.

Acambis alleges that the patent is invalid. Baxter Healthcare, which manufactures Acambis’ MVA vaccine, MVA3000, in Austria, has also challenged the European patent on the same grounds.

Acambis is bidding for a US Government contract to supply an emergency-use stockpile of MVA.

Gordon Cameron said: “We strongly believe that the patent awarded to Bavarian Nordic in Europe is invalid. This belief is supported by evidence presented at the International Trade Commission hearing held over the last two weeks in relation to Bavarian Nordic’s US patent for MVA-BN®. Filing this opposition is part of our strategy vigorously to defend our freedom to operate in the MVA field, which we will defend in whatever forum necessary.”

Acambis is developing an investigational smallpox vaccine, ACAM2000, and is manufacturing emergency-use stockpiles of this investigational vaccine for the US Government and other governments around the world.

It is also developing an attenuated smallpox vaccine, MVA3000, under contracts with the US National Institutes of Health.

Also, Acambis’ US-based subsidiary Berna Products Corporation markets Vivotif®, the world's only licensed oral typhoid vaccine, in North America. Acambis’ investigational vaccine against Japanese encephalitis, ChimeriVax-JE, is undergoing Phase 3 clinical testing.

The company also has the most advanced investigational vaccine against the West Nile virus, which has spread to 48 US States in the last seven years, and a vaccine against Clostridium difficile bacteria, a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections.

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