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26.09.2007 – 08:32

N.V. Organon

European Expert Consortium Combines Forces to Develop a Novel Pandemic Influenza Vaccine

Boxmeer, The Netherlands (ots/PRNewswire)

A consortium of
experts in the field of human virus research and vaccine development
have joined forces to develop a novel pandemic influenza vaccine as a
potential emergency vaccination. The four-year project has been
awarded a grant of EUR3.5 million from the European Union to help
fund the research and the development of the new vaccine. The
so-called FluVac project will be coordinated by Nobilon International
BV which is part of Organon, the human healthcare business unit of
Akzo Nobel.
The recent epidemic of a new pathogenic strain of H5N1 influenza
in birds in Asia has fuelled further concerns about a potential
pandemic influenza outbreak. In the event of an influenza pandemic,
large quantities of a highly effective vaccine will be needed on
short notice. A European consortium consisting of Nobilon
International BV (the Netherlands), Protherics PLC (United Kingdom),
Retroscreen Virology Ltd (United Kingdom), Erasmus Medical Centre
(the Netherlands) and Landspitali University Hospital (Iceland) has
agreed to collaborate on the development of such a vaccine. The
collaboration takes advantage of complementary expertise and
technology of these renowned parties.
Non-clinical studies with a novel H5N1 vaccine developed by
Nobilon and containing CoVaccine HT(TM), a powerful adjuvant from
Protherics, have produced encouraging results to date. This has
resulted in the successful application of an EU grant to develop this
promising vaccine through proof-of-concept in phase I and II clinical
trials. Upon successful achievement of proof-of-concept, the
consortium intends to pursue further clinical development.
Dr. Luuk Hilgers, scientific coordinator for the project on behalf
of Nobilon, stated: "In the event of an influenza pandemic,
vaccination will play a key role in its control. Therefore,
availability of a sufficient number of vaccine doses will be
critical. In this project, we will exploit the potency of the
adjuvant to potentiate immunity and to reduce the antigen dose
required per vaccination."
About Nobilon
Nobilon International BV, part of Organon, a biopharmaceutical
business unit of Akzo Nobel, was founded in 2003. It has production
and R&D facilities in Boxmeer and Oss, the Netherlands. The
biotechnology company is dedicated to develop, produce and market
human vaccines against infectious diseases, building on existing
expertise within sister companies Intervet and Organon. Nobilon
focuses on respiratory and traveler's diseases. One of its core
expertises is large scale cell culture production of viruses,
including influenza. Nobilon currently employs approximately 75 staff
in production and R&D. http://www.nobilon.com
Safe Harbor Statement(i)
This press release may contain statements which address such key
issues as growth strategy, future financial results, market
positions, product development, pharmaceutical products in the
pipeline, and product approvals of Organon. Such statements should be
carefully considered, and it should be understood that many factors
could cause forecasted and actual results to differ from these
statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, price
fluctuations, currency fluctuations, progress of drug development,
clinical testing and regulatory approval, developments in raw
material and personnel costs, pensions, physical and environmental
risks, legal issues, and legislative, fiscal, and other regulatory
measures. Stated competitive positions are based on management
estimates supported by information provided by specialized external
agencies. For a more comprehensive discussion of the risk factors
affecting our business please see our Annual Report on Form  20-F
filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, a
copy of which can be found on the company's corporate website
http://www.akzonobel.com.
(i) Pursuant to the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
1995.

Contact:

For more information: Monique Mols, director media relations, NV
Organon, Oss, the Netherlands, Tel: +31-412-665440, Email:
monique.mols@organon.com

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