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AstraZeneca has acquired a vaccine company based in the US for a total cost of $1.1 billion.

AstraZeneca has recently acquired a vaccine company for $1.1 billion, which will further strengthen its presence in the vaccine and immune therapy industry that was established during the Covid-19 crisis.

The largest pharmaceutical company in Britain has reached an agreement to acquire Icosavax, a Seattle-based company working on a possible vaccine for two prevalent respiratory illnesses.

The primary focus of the American company’s product is on treating respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (hMPV), which are known to cause severe sickness and hospitalization in individuals over 60 years old and those with chronic conditions like cardiovascular, kidney, and respiratory disease. These viruses can also have serious consequences for young children.

During phase II trials, also referred to as intermediate studies, the vaccine demonstrated strong immune responses against RSV and hMPV after one month of being administered. It is currently progressing to phase III trials, which will include a larger group of 20,000 to 30,000 volunteers.

The vaccine is a protein VLP (virus-like particles) combination and is administered through one injection in the arm.

AstraZeneca claims that VLP vaccines imitate the appearance of naturally occurring viruses to the body’s immune system, potentially providing advantages over other types of vaccines. These benefits may include a more robust immune response, broader protection, longer-lasting effectiveness with fewer booster shots, and fewer side effects compared to GSK’s current RSV vaccine.

British competitor GSK and American company Pfizer introduced vaccines for RSV in the current year. The GSK vaccine, known as Arexvy, received approval in the US in May and in the UK in July. It is projected to generate over £1 billion in sales in its initial year, earning the status of a “blockbuster drug”.

Moderna, a company located in Massachusetts, is currently waiting for approval from regulatory agencies in both the US and EU for its RSV vaccine. This vaccine utilizes the same mRNA technology that was used for its Covid vaccine. The company is also conducting trials for a combined vaccine that targets flu, Covid, and RSV and anticipates it to be available by 2026.

The executive vice-president of AstraZeneca’s vaccines and immune therapies division, Iskra Reic, explained that the virus-like particle vaccine technology has the ability to revolutionize protection against serious infectious illnesses like RSV and hMPV. She also mentioned its potential for creating combination vaccines for respiratory viruses.

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She stated that this is in line with our plan to provide a range of treatments for addressing significant gaps in the treatment of infectious diseases, as well as our goal to safeguard the most susceptible patients who are at a heightened risk for severe consequences.

AstraZeneca announced that the agreement further utilized their knowledge in RSV. They have created an antibody therapy that safeguards babies from the respiratory illness, and markets it in collaboration with Sanofi from France. The vaccine, known as Beyfortus, has received approval in the United Kingdom, European Union, and United States.

Source: theguardian.com