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Chiron Selling Off Part of PowderJect

May 17, 2004|From Reuters

U.S. vaccine maker Chiron Corp., which acquired Britain's PowderJect Pharmaceuticals last year, is selling back the powder injection part of the business to a management group, the firms said Sunday.

PowderMed Ltd., a new company backed by $35.17 million in venture capital and led by former PowderJect research and development head Clive Dix, plans to develop powder-based vaccines for chronic viral diseases and cancer.

Powder injection was the original foundation of PowderJect. But it became a secondary business after the group moved into the profitable flu vaccine market -- a strategic change of direction that triggered Chiron's acquisition of the company.

Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron said the legacy powder injection technology did not fit with its R&D pipeline.

Dix said five new powder vaccines were expected to move into clinical development within the next two years and PowderMed would be partnering some projects with GlaxoSmithKline.

PowderMed's backers include Schroder Ventures Life Sciences, Advent Venture Partners, Abingworth Management Ltd. and Oxford Bioscience Partners, with Chiron retaining a minority equity stake.

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