Engineering News

Iomai licenses technology from Dow Chemical unit
Tuesday June 28, 1:01 pm ET

Iomai has licensed a technology from a business unit of Dow Chemical to improve its chance of taking a vaccine from clinic to market.

Gaithersburg-based Iomai, which is developing patches to deliver vaccines to the skin rather than by injection from a needle, will use Dowpharma's Pfenex product that accelerates the commercialization process.

Iomai initially will use Dowpharma's gene-expression technology for its vaccine to treat traveler's diarrhea. Iomai also plans to use the technology in its other products, which include vaccines for the flu in both the elderly and the general population, as well as for anthrax.

Iomai CEO Stan Erck recently told Washington Business Journal that he hopes to have vaccines in Phase III studies by 2007 for traveler's diarrhea and influenza in the elderly if all goes according to plan.

Iomai, founded in 1997, has raised more than $80 million in financing and employs about 60.

An IPO or major financing round is likely to take place in the next year, Erck says. Iomai is widely considered among local biotech observers to be one of the most promising Washington vaccine makers, along with others such MedImmune and new company Emergent BioSolutions.

"Bringing Pfenex and Iomai's technologies together will allow Iomai to economically manufacture better vaccines for the prevention and treatment of infectious disease," says Nick Hyde, a business director at Midland, Mich.-based Dowpharma, which is a contract manufacturing firm.

Dowpharma's parent company, Dow Chemical, has annual sales of $40 billion.

Erck says Dowpharma's experience and knowledge in contract manufacturing will "enhance our process development activities and ... smooth our ultimate transition into manufacturing with this product."


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