EPALINGES, Switzerland – February 21, 2013 – Anergis, a company developing breakthrough allergy vaccines for fast and safe allergen-specific immunotherapy, reported today that it will present preclinical data for its ragweed allergy vaccine at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) in San Antonio, TX.* The results demonstrate the hypoallergenicity of AllerR and the successful recognition of the natural ragweed allergen Amb a 1 by the mouse immune system after immunization with AllerR.
The poster no. 136 will be presented on Saturday, February 23, 2013, at 9:45am CST in session no. 2210 "Immunotherapy I" at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Street Level, Exhibit Hall C. The abstract of the poster titled "Non-Detectable IgE Binding of an Amb a 1 Derived, Contiguous Overlapping Peptide Based, SIT Product Candidate Against Ragweed Allergy" is available at:
AllerR is a mix of seven Contiguous Overlapping Peptides (COPs) derived from the COP platform of Anergis. In the experiments, AllerR showed no detectable IgE binding in competition ELISA tests using sera from allergic patients and did not induce degranulation of humanized basophil cells, a standard test used to test the ability of a protein or peptide to elicit an allergic reaction in humans. In addition, mice sensitized to the natural allergen Amb a 1 showed no reactivity to AllerR, whereas the administration of Amb a 1 in these animals lead to anaphylactic responses. The immunogenicity of AllerR was also tested in naïve mice and showed that each COP composing AllerR elicited an antibody response and that these antibodies specifically recognized the natural Amb a 1 allergen.
"We have shown that antibodies raised against AllerR in mice recognize Amb a 1 and that each COP contributes to AllerR immunogenicity," said Christophe Reymond, Chief Scientific Officer of Anergis. "Combined with its absence of any detectable binding to IgEs of allergic patients, these properties make AllerR an excellent candidate for development of a novel COP allergy vaccine against ragweed pollen allergy."
"We received positive feedback from the U.S. FDA last year when we discussed the AllerR early development program and the preparation of the first clinical trial of AllerR in patients allergic to ragweed pollen," added Vincent Charlon, CEO of Anergis. "Our goal is to start a Phase I/IIa clinical trial in 2014."
In the U.S., ragweed pollen allergy is the major cause of hay fever: 75% of all patients suffering from pollen allergies carry a ragweed pollen allergy. It affects about 20% of the U.S. population and is also on the rise in Europe due to the spread of ragweed (Ambrosia genus) plants accidentally introduced to Europe. The major allergenic protein has been identified as Amb a 1, a 38 kDa non-glycosylated protein composed of two subunits.
*The poster entitled "Non-Detectable IgE Binding of an Amb a 1 Derived, Contiguous Overlapping Peptide Based, SIT Product Candidate Against Ragweed Allergy" is also being published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology - February 2013 (Vol. 131, Issue 2, Supplement, Page AB37, DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2012.12.815)
Anergis SA is a Swiss-based biopharmaceutical company specializing in the discovery and development of novel allergy vaccines targeting the most frequent allergies. Anergis´ vaccines are based on its proprietary Continuous Overlapping Peptides technology. Allergies are the most prevalent and the fastest growing chronic conditions in the industrialized world, with over 500 million people affected.
Anergis' lead-product AllerT, a vaccine to treat birch pollen allergies, is in Phase II clinical development. AllerR, its second vaccine candidate for the treatment of patients with allergy to ragweed pollen, has recently reached important preclinical milestones and received positive feedback from the U.S. FDA for the subsequent clinical development program in June 2012. 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 a process of induction of tolerance to the allergen requiring 3-5 years of treatment and exposing patients to the risk of serious side effects. Anergis has developed a next-generation concept of SIT: vaccines based on COPs (Contiguous Overlapping Peptides), which reproduce the full-length amino acid sequence of the allergen in separate long peptides. COPs do not cross-react with IgE, the antibody class responsible for eliciting allergic hypersensitivity. Therefore, COPs can be safely administered at high doses to induce tolerance to the allergen after few injections only. 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).