Anergis Closes CHF 18 Million Series A Financing Round to Develop its Innovative Allergy Vaccines and Expands its Board of Directors
LAUSANNE, Switzerland - March 28th, 2011 - Anergis SA announced today that it has closed a Series A financing round raising CHF 18 millions from European biotech funds and private local investors.
Anergis SA is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative immunotherapies against allergies. Its lead product, called "AllerT" and made of so-called Contiguous Overlapping Peptides (COPs), is designed to provide ultra-fast and safe desensitization to birch pollen allergy, a widely spread condition in developed countries.
The financing round was co-led by three major European funds with extensive biotech experience: Vinci Capital-Renaissance PME (Lausanne, Switzerland), BioMedInvest (managed by BioMedPartners AG, Basel, Switzerland) and Sunstone Capital (Copenhagen, Denmark). The syndicate was also joined by Esperante (Limhamn, Sweden), Initiative Capital Romandie (Lausanne, Switzerland) and by private investors. Up until now, Anergis has invested CHF 3 million in its innovative allergy vaccines. These funds were raised from private investors and from a grant by the Swiss Innovation Fund (CTI).
The newly joining investors also bring substantial pharmaceutical experience and know-how to Anergis: Patrick Scherrer (representing Vinci Capital-Renaissance PME), Markus Hosang (representing BioMedInvest) and Sten Verland (representing Sunstone Capital) have joined the Anergis Board of Directors. The Board will be chaired by André J. Mueller, a professional with unique executive and non-executive experience in biotech ventures, which he gained with Biogen and Actelion and as the Chairman of the Boards of Cerenis Therapeutics (Toulouse) and Addex Pharmaceuticals (Geneva).
"The proceeds of this financing will cover our financial requirements for the next two years and will allow us to take essential steps for the development of Anergis. In particular, we will now conduct a large Phase II multicenter trial with AllerT, our lead product for patients allergic to birch pollen, and we will speed up the preclinical development of our product portfolio in our new research laboratories," said Vincent Charlon, PhD, CEO of Anergis.
"We see Anergis as a good example of Swiss strengths, bringing together excellent science, an experienced management team, a solid value proposition, a clear execution path and addressing a global unmet medical need," added Patrick Scherrer.
"Anergis has developed a unique technology with the potential to change the treatment paradigm of allergic patients. We look forward to further supporting the developments of the company on a global basis," said Sten Verland.
"This round of financing is an important validation of the potential of Anergis' approach to develop a new generation of synthetic products to better serve the growing allergy market," explained Markus Hosang.
About Anergis SA: Anergis SA is a Swiss-based biopharmaceutical company specializing in the discovery and development of novel allergy vaccines targeting the most frequent allergies. Allergies are the most prevalent and the fastest growing chronic conditions in the industrialized world with over 300 million people affected. While short-term symptomatic treatments of allergy need to be prescribed continuously, the only curative therapy of allergy, known as "desensitization" or "Specific Immunotherapy" (SIT), is a process of induction of tolerance to the allergen that today requires 3-5 years of treatment and poses the risk of serious side effects. Based on its proprietary Contiguous Overlapping Peptides ("COPs") technology, which Anergis acquired from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland (UNIL), the Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), the company is developing innovative SIT products containing so-called COPs that reproduce the full amino acid sequence of the allergen in separate long peptidic molecules. Anergis COPs do not cross-react with IgE, the antibody class responsible for eliciting allergic hypersensitivity. Thus, COPs can safely be 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) of Anergis products.