Astellas has unveiled a series of strategic partnerships which it claims will help build a global vaccine franchise.

The Japan-headquartered major has linked up with ClearPath of the USA "to form a portfolio of development companies focused on vaccines targeting infectious diseases". The partners launched their first venture last month, called RSV Corp which, with funding from Astellas, has licensed a virosome vaccine technology from Swiss-based biotech Mymetics Corp.

Mymetics could receive upfront and post-proof-of-concept milestone payments up to $82 million, as well as double-digit royalties and other fees. The plan is to use this technology to develop a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus through completion of a Phase IIb human proof-of-concept study. 

RSV infects 64 million people each and is responsible for 160,000 deaths worldwide - currently, there is no vaccine available for this virus.

After those Phase IIb trials, Astellas has exclusive rights to acquire RSVC as well as further develop and commercialise the vaccine. Chief strategic officer Kenji Yasukawa said that the partnership "highlights our commitment to build a global vaccine business and represents a highly-efficient model for bringing innovative vaccines to market".

ClearPath chairman Chuck Finn added that "together we are harnessing our collective resources to accelerate development of this promising, early stage asset and will replicate this scalable, outcome driven model across future portfolio companies".