Jeremy Craig, 404-413-1357
University Relations, Georgia State University
Kathryn D. Gallagher, 843-576-9840
VaxyGen Manufacturing Services LLC
ATLANTA — The Georgia State University Research Foundation has entered into an exclusive license and collaboration agreement with VaxyGen Manufacturing Services LLC to provide VaxyGen with a new way to produce and purify proteins in developing pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
Additionally, VaxyGen will commercialize the expertise of professors in the GSU Biological Process Development and Research Laboratory, for which the expertise will help streamline the development of new drugs and vaccines. Georgia State professors George Pierce and Sid Crow will become scientific and technical advisors to the company.
James A. Weyhenmeyer, vice president for research and economic development at Georgia State, said the partnership will yield beneficial results for technological advances in health care.
“This agreement between GSURF and VaxyGen is a significant step in demonstrating the high-value translation of research at Georgia State University to improve human life through the successful development of biopharmaceutical and vaccine products,” Weyhenmeyer said. “We are proud of the outstanding expertise and know-how that has been developed at GSU’s Biological Process Development and Research Laboratory, and we look forward to the successful contributions of that technology and expertise, ultimately to improve lives throughout the world,” he added.
David Dodd, president and CEO of VaxyGen, said the company has been impressed with the expertise, know-how, technology and productivity within the lab.
“One of the greatest identified challenges in the development of life-enhancing biopharmaceutical and vaccine products is establishing consistent, successful optimization, purification and production of the underlying proteins related to development products,” Dodd explained. “The GSU team has demonstrated their novel ability and consistent access in addressing and resolving these very challenging technical issues,” Dodd added. “In the end, patients will most benefit from the contributions resulting from this license and collaboration. We believe that this license and collaborative agreement are an excellent demonstration of improving life through affordable innovation.”
Pierce said that he and Crow are looking forward to the partnership with VaxyGen in the higher goal of getting effective drugs to the consumer sooner.
“We’re extremely excited about this,” Pierce said. “This is really great news. The partnership also has tremendous benefit for the university and the state of Georgia to have this kind of activity in the state.”
Pierce explained that at the moment, it can take a decade or more, and hundreds of millions of dollars, to develop certain drugs and vaccines. He said that the work will seek to make development more economical, while providing great efficacy.
“We’re also looking at the whole idea of asking the critical questions as early as possible in regards to practicality, scalability and reliability,” he said. “The sooner that you ask those questions, the quicker you’ll know if you’ve got something you can live with and use.”
The Georgia State University Research Foundation, a component unit of Georgia State University, is a Georgia nonprofit corporation created to support the research, technology commercialization and economic development activities of GSU.
The foundation works to obtain research funding through individuals, private organizations and public agencies. Grants awarded to the foundation are provided to the university, where scientists are given needed resources to conduct cutting-edge research in a variety of fields, leading to new scientific understanding and technologies.
VaxyGen Manufacturing Services LLC provides custom contract services in support of biological process optimization, scale-up and the development of manufacturing processes relative to biopharmaceutical and vaccine products.
The company is one of the operating businesses within VaxyGen Holdings LLC. VaxyGen Holdings LLC was established to provide vaccine products, assay services and manufacturing services, focused on improving life through affordable innovation.
Oct. 18, 2011