NOVARTIS TO ACQUIRE RIGHTS TO INTERCELL'S JAPANESE ENCEPHALITIS VACCINE

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Swiss drugmaker Novartis has announced the expansion of its late-stage vaccines pipeline through an agreement to acquire marketing and distribution rights for Intercell's IC51, a vaccine in Phase III clinical trials for the prevention of infections from the Japanese encephalitis virus.

Per the agreement, Novartis will gain the rights to the future commercialization of IC51, which received orphan-drug status from the EMEA earlier this year. Novartis has the rights to IC51 for the U.S., Europe and certain other markets including Asia and Latin America, except for markets where Intercell has pre-existing agreements. Submission for U.S. FDA approval is anticipated to start in the second half of 2006.