International drug giant Wyeth is making an equity investment in privately held AlphaVax, an RTP-based firm focused on developing vaccines to fight infectious diseases and cancer.

The companies declined to disclose details of the investment.

The deal is part of an expanded partnership between the two firms that dates back to 1998. Details of the expanded agreement were not disclosed, although AlphaVax said in a statement that it “significantly increases the financial terms of the original license”. AlphaVax also described the agreement as “exclusive”.

The companies said they will work together to develop vaccines. Wyeth gets access to certain AlphaVax technologies.

“It is clear that vaccines are an increasingly important public health priority in a wide variety of diseases and biological threats, and this reality is driving significant new growth and investment,” said Peter Young, chief executive officer of AlphaVax . “Our Wyeth relationship has played an
important part in our development since the inception of our company, and this new agreement is
a very gratifying confirmation of not only our technology’s considerable promise but the progress
AlphaVax has made as well.”

AlphaVax, which was launched in 1997, employs 65 people in RTP. It has raised more than $80 million in investment and grant funding. Its core technology was developed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.