ImmusanT banks $12M round for PhII celiac vaccine study

Cambridge, MA-based ImmusanT has raised $12 million to back its midstage program for a new peptide-based therapeutic vaccine to combat celiac disease. The biotech says the cash put up by Vatera Healthcare Partners will fund a Phase II study of NexVax2, an immunotherapy designed to help people who are intolerant to gluten. Currently, the only way to deal with celiac disease is to maintain a diet free of gluten, though even trace elements contaminating a dish can trigger a severe response. The biotech is also developing a companion diagnostic for the vaccine.  "Nexvax2 remains the only treatment in development that could eventually allow patients to resume a diet containing gluten and therefore, continues to be of great interest to both celiac disease patients and clinicians," says ImmusanT CEO Leslie Williams. But it's not the only celiac drug in development. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Avalon teamed up earlier this year to launch Sitari to develop new celiac drugs while AbbVie partnered with Alvine Pharmaceuticals back in 2013. Release

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