Company News: Anergis and Virometix Announce Research Collaboration to Use Synthetic Virus-Like Particles for Ultra-Fast Allergy Immunotherapy
— Study is performed at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and supported by a TRANSVAC2 grant
Anergis SA, a company developing Contiguous Overlapping Peptides (COPs) for ultra-fast allergy immunotherapy, and Virometix AG, a company developing a new generation of vaccines and immunotherapeutic drugs, announced today that they have entered into a research collaboration.
The study will be conducted at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI, Braunschweig, Germany) as part of TRANSVAC2, the European Network of Vaccine Research and Development funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program.
The pre-clinical study program will evaluate the immunogenicity profile of the Anergis peptides designed to treat house dust mite allergy (the Der p 2 COPs) when presented on Virometix’ proprietary Synthetic Virus-Like Particles (SVLP), with or without undisclosed Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) ligands and built-in adjuvants, and will compare the results to Anergis’ Der p 2 COPs with aluminum hydroxide as an extrinsic adjuvant. More broadly, this study will provide information on the applicability of the two technology platforms combined for combatting allergies.
The study was launched at HZI in Q2/2020 and the results are expected by Q4/2020.
“Given the immune-stimulatory properties of the SVLP platform and the extensive clinical experience with Anergis’ COPs, we are convinced that the combination of SVLPs with dust mite COPs represents a highly attractive opportunity to develop a safe and efficacious ultra-fast COP allergy vaccine platform,” commented Alexander Kettner, Head of Research at Anergis.
“We are very excited to start this initial research project with Anergis, a leading company in ultra-fast allergy immunotherapy,” said Anna Sumeray, CEO of Virometix. “We look forward to demonstrating that our proprietary Synthetic Virus-Like Particle (SVLP) technology and vaccine expertise can improve the treatment of allergies.”
Anergis SA is a privately held Swiss biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of proprietary ultra-fast allergy immunotherapy products for the most prevalent allergies. Anergis was founded by Professor François Spertini, allergist at the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland. Anergis raised over CHF 55 million from private and institutional investors, including BioMedInvest, Sunstone Capital, Renaissance PME and WJFS, Inc. Anergis SA is located in the Biopôle near Lausanne, Switzerland, a life sciences community bringing together industry and academia.
Virometix AG is a privately held Swiss biotechnology company developing a new generation of vaccines and immunotherapeutic drugs for the prevention and treatment of infections and cancer. In an increasingly global world, there is a considerable medical need for vaccines to combat infectious as well as a number of chronic human diseases, including cancer. Rational molecular design, chemical synthesis and Virometix’ proprietary “Synthetic Virus-Like Particle” platform technology allow for the rapid production and optimization of vaccine candidates with the potential to demonstrate superior properties in terms of safety, efficacy and stability.
About Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research
Scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) investigate the mechanisms of infectious diseases and the defence against them. Subsequently, they develop the results of basic research systematically towards medical and pharmaceutical application. The HZI addresses the infectious disease challenges of the 21st century. To this end, the centre has implemented its competitive programme “Infection Research”. The programme puts particular emphasis on the transfer of research results to application as anti-infectives, vaccines and diagnostics. There is a strong focus on individualised infection medicine and the increased use of big data-driven approaches for infection research, including omics-technologies and machine learning tools.
TRANSVAC2 functions as a leverage and innovation catalyst between all stakeholders involved in vaccine R&D in Europe, and contributes to the development of effective products to address European and global health challenges. This reinforces the European leadership in controlling the burden and spread of diseases, and the economic assets represented by vaccine developers in Europe.
Allergies are the most prevalent and fastest growing chronic conditions in the industrialized world, affecting over 500 million people. The only curative therapy of allergies available today, known as “desensitization”, “allergy shots” or “allergy immunotherapy” is the process of inducing tolerance to the allergen. It typically requires 3-5 years of treatment and exposes patients to the risk of serious side effects – in particular immediate (<30 min) anaphylactic reactions – which can be life-threatening. With its technology, Anergis is shaping the future of allergy treatment by developing therapeutic modalities that will only require 2 months of treatment – compared to 3 to 5 years with currently marketed products.
About Ultra-fast Allergy Immunotherapy Developments by Anergis
Anergis is focusing on novel, proprietary ultra-fast allergy immunotherapies based on Contiguous Overlapping Peptides (COPs). The first-generation lead product against birch pollen allergies, AllerT, contains three Bet v1 COPs and aluminum hydroxide as an adjuvant. With AllerT, Anergis has obtained clinical proof-of-concept of ultra-fast AIT with a single 2-month treatment course by demonstrating rapid and sustained efficacy during the two seasons following treatment and long-term immune memory. Based on a comprehensive clinical data set established over the past years, Anergis has initiated a new research program to design a second generation of COP allergy vaccines with expected enhanced efficacy and improved tolerability.
About Allergen Immunotherapy
Allergies are the most prevalent and fastest growing chronic diseases in the industrialised world, affecting over one billion people worldwide. Allergen immunotherapy uniquely alters the natural course of respiratory allergies. It is the only therapeutic class capable of modifying disease progression and potentially preventing the onset of the disease by inducing tolerance in the immune system.