NewLink Genetics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on bringing novel immunotherapeutic medicines to cancer patients globally, and Merck received two Vaccine Industry Excellence (ViE) awards presented during the 15th Annual World Vaccine Congress. The ViE Awards honor the efforts, accomplishments and positive contributions of companies and individuals in the vaccine industry.
NewLink Genetics and Merck received top honors in both the Best Vaccine License and Best Prophylactic Vaccine categories.
The Best Vaccine License finalists represented industry business combinations with the greatest potential for success in bringing innovative medicines to the market. In November 2014, NewLink Genetics and Merck Sharp & Dohme, a subsidiary of Merck, entered into an exclusive worldwide license and collaboration agreement on the investigational rVSV-EBOV (Ebola) vaccine candidate as well as any follow-on products. Merck obtained an exclusive license to research, develop, manufacture and distribute rVSV-EBOV. The rVSV-EBOV vaccine candidate was originally developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and licensed by BioProtection Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NewLink Genetics.
NewLink Genetics received an upfront payment of $30 million from Merck. In February of this year, NewLink Genetics earned a $20 million milestone payment relating to the initiation of a pivotal clinical trial in Africa. NewLink Genetics has the ability to earn royalties on future potential sales of the vaccine, if approved by regulatory agencies in specified countries based on certain economic criteria.
NewLink Genetics and Merck also received the Best Prophylactic Vaccine award for NewLink Genetics' investigational rVSV-EBOV vaccine candidate. Vaccines from Sanofi Pasteur, GSK, J&J and Pfizer were among the six finalists competing with NewLink Genetics and Merck. Merck also received the Best Pharma Company award.
The World Vaccine Congress & Expo, now in its 15th year, covers everything from R&D to manufacturing to corporate development strategies. The Congress hosts the only awards ceremony dedicated to the vaccine industry. The ViE Awards honor individuals, organizations and initiatives, which have made significant contributions over the past 12 months to innovation in the field of vaccines.