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머크, '테미스' 인수..“코로나19 백신 개발” - 바이오스펙테이터

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머크, '테미스' 인수..“코로나19 백신 개발”

입력 2020-05-27 13:14 수정 2020-05-27 13:17

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전염병대비혁신연합(CEPI)서 490만달러 지원..파스퇴르연구소, 피츠버그대와 함께 코로나19 백신 개발 중..2020년 하반기 임상 진입 예정

미국 머크(MSD)가 다양한 감염병 백신과 면역항암제를 개발하는 오스트리아 바이오텍 테미스(Themis)를 인수했다.

머크는 26일(현지시간) 자회사를 통해 테미스를 인수했다고 밝혔다. 계약에 따라 머크는 자회사를 통해 테미스에 현금을 지불하고 테미스의 모든 발행 주식(outstanding shares)을 매입키로 했다. 거래가 완료되면 테미스는 머크 자회사가 100% 지분을 가진 회사가 된다.

전염병대비혁신연합(CEPI)은 지난 3월 490만달러를 테미스, 파스퇴르 연구소, 피츠버그대 백신연구센터가 코로나19 백신 개발을 위해 결성한 컨소시엄에 지원한 바 있다. 테미스는 전임상 단계의 코로나19 백신 후보물질을 개발 중으로 2020년 하반기 임상에 들어갈 계획이다.

테미스는 홍역 바이러스(measles virus) 벡터를 이용해 다양한 감염병에 대한 백신 후보물질 및 면역항암제 파이프라인을 개발하고 있다. 테미스는 2010년 파스퇴르 연구소로부터 홍역바이러스 벡터 플랫폼을 인수한 바 있다. 테미스는 홍역 바이러스 벡터를 이용해 감염병에 대한 항원을 발현하도록 조작하고, 보호 면역반응(protective immune response)을 유발할 수 있는 항원을 체내 면역계에 전달하는 방식의 백신을 개발 중이다.

로저 펄뮤터(Roger Perlmutter) 머크연구소 사장은 “테미스가 가진 전문성은 우리의 백신 발굴, 개발, 제조 및 글로벌 마케팅 능력을 보완해 줄 것”이라며 “양사의 강점을 결합해 단기적으로 효과적인 코로나19 백신을 개발하고 장기적으로 미래의 팬데믹에 대해 대비할 것”이라고 말했다.

한편, 테미스는 뎅기별과 비슷한 질병인 치쿤구니아(Chikungunya)에 대한 백신 후보물질의 임상 3상을 준비 중으로 이외에도 사스(SARS), 메르스(MERS), 지카바이러스(Zika virus), 라사열병(Lassa fever)에 대한 백신을 개발하고 있다. 또, 테미스는 전임상 단계의 면역항암제를 개발하고 있다.

▲테미스 개발중인 파이프라인(테미스 홈페이지 참조)

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