Pfizer has purchased a controlling stake in Redvax, a spin-off from Swiss biopharmaceutical firm Redbiotec.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Redvax is a preclinical stage company, which develops multi-component virus-like particles (VLPs) and other protein assemblies for vaccine development in the field of cytomegalovirus (CMV) and a further undisclosed field.
Pfizer senior vice-president of vaccine research and early development Kathrin Jansen said: "Through the acquisition of the Redvax innovative CMV vaccine platform and expertise, we will seek to develop a vaccine to prevent a difficult disease that can have a devastating and lifelong impact on young children."
The deal allows Pfizer to gain access to a preclinical human CMV vaccine candidate, in addition to intellectual property and a technology platform related to a second, undisclosed vaccine programme.
The CMV vaccine programme is said to be in line with Pfizer’s portfolio of investigational vaccines, while CMV is a herpes virus, infecting 50%-90% of the adult population, with a majority remaining asymptomatic.
Redbiotec CEO and Redvax managing director Christian Schaub said: "We are pleased to have completed this deal with Pfizer, a global leader in vaccines.
"This represents an important step toward the development of a much needed vaccine for CMV, a disease that has a devastating impact on children and families."
According to US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5,000 children each year develop health problems caused by CMV such as hearing or vision loss and mental disability.
Image: Pfizer World Headquarters. Photo: courtesy of Norbert Nagel, Mörfelden-Walldorf, Germany.