Centegen Inc announced that it has entered into an exclusive licensing partnership with Merial for the development and global commercialization of its proprietary vaccine, CEN-102, designed to reduce staphylococcal infections in ruminant animals such as cows.

"Merial is one of the world's leading veterinary health companies and is the ideal partner both to develop and market the vaccine," said Joel B. Braunstein, MD, Chairman of Centegen. "Staphylococcal infections are an increasing concern in veterinary, as well as human, health. The public prefers, and regulatory agencies strongly encourage, the appropriate use of antibiotics in livestock animals. Effective vaccination is an attractive strategy to achieve that goal. This vaccine may also help reverse the trend of growing infection rates with increasingly antibiotic-resistant staphylococci."

Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but include license fees, milestone payments and tiered royalties on sales. Centegen exclusively licensed the underlying intellectual property, in part, from the University of California, Davis. The company will now focus on finding a development partner for human applications of the CEN-102 vaccine.

The CEN-102 vaccine elicits potent antigen-specific T-cell and B-cell responses not present in unvaccinated animals. The vaccine aims to protect against spontaneous staphylococcal infections, reduce the need for antibiotic use, and significantly improve milk quality. The vaccine incorporates an antigen expressed on the cell surface throughout the entire life-cycle of all tested strains and species of staphylococci.

"Merial is dedicated to improving animal health, and we are already active in the important segment of mastitis vaccine with our J-VAC® product for E. coli mastitis," said Frank Milward, Head North America BioDevelopment. "Staphylococci are one of the most prevalent causes of bovine mastitis that have eluded the development of effective vaccines so far. We look forward to developing this vaccine further for this indication."

Centegen, Inc.

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