Active Biotech steps up efforts in ETEC and cholera vaccine through acquisition of VITEC


Through its subsidiary, SBL Vaccin AB, Active Biotech AB carries out development and manufacturing of vaccines against ETEC and cholera.

The cholera vaccine is sold in Sweden under the Dukoral trademark, whereas the ETEC vaccine is still undergoing Phase III clinical trials. It is expected that the ETEC vaccine will be registered in the EU and the U.S. in 2001. The future market for the ETEC vaccine is considered very large. At present, there is no competing ETEC vaccine that has reached a comparable developmental stage.

An important component of the ETEC and cholera vaccines is CTB (cholera toxin subunit B). CTB has demonstrated a unique ability to stimulate local immunity in the intestines and it thereby creates a good immune defence against both ETEC and cholera diarrhoea. It is the CTB that makes the vaccines drinkable.

CTB was developed by Professor Jan Holmgren, Gothenburg. The basic patent rights to CTB are owned by Vitec AB, a company that is wholly owned by Professor Holmgren. Vitec also receives royalty on revenues from the sale of Dukoral, and royalty on future revenues from the sale of the ETEC vaccine.

Today, in keeping with its intensified efforts in ETEC and cholera vaccines, Active Biotech acquired all shares in Vitec, through SBL Vaccin. The purchase price for Vitec has two components: SEK 25.6 million, paid in cash on the takeover date a supplemental payment of 60,000 Series B shares in Active Biotech, to be paid on the successful registrations of the ETEC project in the EU and the U.S. - expected to occur in 2001.

Jan Holmgren is professor at the Institution for Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Gothenburg. He is also a member of the scientific council of Active Biotech. The acquisition represents a further step in the successful cooperation between Professor Holmgren and Active Biotech/SBL Vaccin.

Bo Håkansson, Managing Director of Active Biotech, comments:
"The acquisition of Vitec is an important element in our efforts with the ETEC and cholera vaccines. As a result of this acquisition, Vitec gains royalty rights, which means that the expected financial outcome of a positive launch of these vaccines increases significantly."

Lund, June 29 1998
Active Biotech AB (publ)
Bo Håkansson, Managing Director