ZUG, Switzerland and CATANIA, Italy, June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- AmVac AG, a Swiss biopharmaceutical company based in Zug, is starting its first research cooperation program with Bayer Innovation GmbH on the development of a new influenza vaccine. Joint research and development work is beginning with the Bayer subsidiary Icon Genetics GmbH on a novel production approach. Antigens are to be produced for the first time in tobacco plants which along with AmVac AG's adjuvant MALP-2 are to be developed into an efficient new generation of flu vaccines. The research unit for the preclinical work is being opened today at the Parco Scientifico e Tecnologico in Catania, Sicily.

By switching the production base to plants, the magICON technology patented by Icon Genetics enables shorter expression times compared with current methods. As there is no contamination by animal proteins such as egg protein, the safety profile for producing antigens in tobacco plants is outstanding and has no allergy risks. It also has the potential to reduce production costs thanks to the high yields obtained in cultivating antigens. By using the innovative and high-potential adjuvant MALP-2, AmVac AG can make a decisive contribution to developing a new influenza vaccine. The immune system is stimulated, thus significantly increasing the efficacy of a vaccination. At the same time, it should be possible to reduce the amount of the antigen used and, therefore, to produce large quantities of vaccine more quickly and cost-efficiently.

Melinda-Kinga Karpati, CEO of AmVac AG, explains, "We anticipate that this collaboration with Bayer's Icon Genetics will bring us rapid results for the joint project and for our Malp-2 adjuvant. We are carrying out the work in Catania because here we have both good scientists and a high level of political support for our research. Here in Catania, we have found ideal conditions for our project with AmVac. Our goal is to achieve preclinical results with our highly motivated team locally as soon as possible and to prepare effectively for any clinical trials."

About AmVac AG

AmVac AG is a biopharmaceutical company based in Switzerland. The company focuses on the vaccine market which is displaying above-average growth rates. Its pipeline includes two close-to-market therapeutic vaccines in the fields of gynecology and urology. Other innovative vaccines and technologies are under development. The well-known market research company Frost & Sullivan presented its sought-after Enabling Technology of the Year Award to AmVac AG in 2007.

Contact: Ariane Meynert, Head of PR/IR, Tel.: +41-41-725-32-34, Mobil: +41-79-793-34-19, E-Mail: meynert@amvac.ch .

Contact: Ariane Meynert, Head of PR/IR, Tel.: +41-41-725-32-34, Mobil: +41-79-793-34-19, E-Mail: meynert@amvac.ch .