Anergis Receives Swiss Life Sciences Prize
- Prestigious annual award under the patronage of the Swiss Biotech Association and BioValley Basel
- Sponsored by BB Biotech Ventures, Novartis Venture Fund and Venture Incubator
Anergis, a company focusing on proprietary allergy vaccines, today announced it has been awarded the Swiss Life Sciences Prize 2013. The prize, which has been granted for the tenth time in 2013, is under the patronage of the Swiss Biotech Association and BioValley Basel. Sponsors of the Swiss Life Sciences Prize are BB Biotech Ventures, Novartis Venture Fund and Venture Incubator. Jury members are Dr. Philippe Dro (CEO, GlycoVaxyn AG), Dr. Reinhard Glück (Former President, Swiss Biotech Association), Dr. Franz Saladin (Director, Chamber of Commerce of Basel), Dr. Dieter Scholer (Member, University Council, University of Basel), Dr. Matthias Staehelin (Head Life Sciences, VISCHER) and Jürg Zürcher (EMEIA Biotechnology Leader, Ernst & Young).
"We are delighted that Anergis has been chosen as the winner of this year's Swiss Life Sciences Award," said Vincent Charlon, CEO of Anergis. "The award underlines Anergis' achievements and the value of its COP allergy vaccine pipeline. It also reflects the fact that Anergis is a leading actor of the Swiss biotechnology industry. Just recently, we have successfully completed a Phase IIb trial with our lead compound AllerT, a birch pollen allergy vaccine. We are looking forward to initiating Phase III clinical trials next year."
Philippe Dro, CEO of GlycoVaxyn and member of the jury, stated: "We are impressed how the Anergis team made progress in an area often neglected by the industry and is on its way to making a significant contribution to the field of vaccines. With the combination of a technology, a motivated team and financing from Swiss sources, Anergis presents a great showcase for practical possibilities for start-ups in Switzerland."
Anergis SA is a Swiss-based biopharmaceutical company specializing in the discovery and development of novel, proprietary allergy vaccines targeting commercially attractive indications. Anergis' vaccines are based on its IP-protected Contiguous Overlapping Peptide technology. Allergies are the most prevalent and fastest growing chronic conditions in the industrialized world affecting over 500 million people.
Anergis' lead-product AllerT, a vaccine to treat birch pollen allergies, has successfully completed a Phase IIb study and is due to enter Phase III clinical development in 2014. Two additional vaccine candidates against ragweed pollen allergies (AllerR) and against house dust mite allergies (AllerDM) are in preclinical development. Anergis has raised over CHF 22 million from Renaissance PME-Vinci Capital, Sunstone Capital, BioMedInvest and other investors, including Esperante Ventures and Defi Gestion.
About Anergis' Contiguous Overlapping Peptides Technology (COPs)
The only curative therapy of allergies available today, known as "desensitization" or "Specific Immunotherapy" (SIT), is the process of inducing tolerance to the allergen. It requires 3-5 years of treatment and exposes patients to the risk of serious side effects - in particular potential immediate (<30 min) anaphylactic reactions - which can be life-threatening. With its ultra-fast desensitization, Anergis is developing the future of allergy treatment. Anergis' vaccines are based on COPs (Contiguous Overlapping Peptides), which reproduce the complete amino acid sequence of the allergen in separate synthetic long peptides. COP allergy vaccines are pharmaceutical quality products that provide the complete allergen sequence covering all T cell epitopes, but do not cross-react with IgE, the antibody class responsible for eliciting allergic hypersensitivity. Therefore, COPs can be administered safely at high doses to induce tolerance to the allergen after a few injections only. This allows for desensitization in 2 months as opposed to 3 years. Studies of COPs targeting bee venom and birch pollen allergies in both animals and humans have demonstrated excellent safety (no immediate allergic reaction) and immunogenicity (production of specific antibodies and cytokines against the original allergen and establishment of a long-term immune memory). The Phase IIb data reported in September 2013 confirm that COP allergy vaccines can substantially reduce allergy symptoms under real-life conditions.