VIENNA, Austria, December 11 AFFiRiS has startedpre-clinical development of a Parkinson's vaccine. The vaccine, known asPD01, can be used to target a specific protein that is closely associatedwith the causes of this degenerative neurological disease. Excellent productcandidates from discovery studies have prompted the company to file a patentapplication and proceed immediately with development. Similarly positiveresults from external assessments impelled the Austrian Research PromotionAgency (FFG) to provide considerable financial funding for the project. Thevaccine is based on the company's AFFITOME technology, which, among otherthings, has already been used to develop two Alzheimer's vaccines, which arecurrently both in phase I clinical testing.
AFFiRiS, based in Vienna, Austria, today announced the start of thepre-clinical development of its first Parkinson's vaccine PD01. The vaccinewill be investigated for efficacy ("proof of concept") in Parkinson models.On successful conclusion of this preclinical evaluation, initial clinicaltesting could start in 2010/11. The Parkinson's vaccine specifically targetsthe alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) protein, which is considered to be a keycontributory element in Parkinson's disease.
Although all details of the disease are not yet fully understood, thereis clear scientific evidence that the concentration and enrichment ofalpha-syn in the brain are contributing factors in the progression ofParkinson's disease. Therefore, reducing the alpha-syn burden in the brainshould have a positive impact on the course of the disease - a hypothesisthat was recently confirmed by the results of U.S. researchers working onanimal models.
The Parkinson's vaccine from AFFiRiS has been developed to deliveryefficacy in combination with an excellent safety profile, as Dr. WalterSchmidt, CEO of AFFiRiS, explains: "Alpha-syn is an attractive target fortreating the cause - not just the symptoms - of Parkinson's. However, it isimportant to bear in mind that alpha-syn is a human protein belonging to afamily of proteins with very similar structures like e.g. beta-syn, anessential neuroprotective factor. Therefore, treatment to reduce alpha-synmust not lead to the reduction of related proteins, such as beta-syn. OurAFFITOME technology enables us to develop vaccines that induce antibodyspecifically targeting alpha-syn only."
Frank Mattner, Chief Scientific Officer at AFFiRiS, adds: "The greatpotential offered by our AFFITOME technology has been confirmed by externalexperts, who appraised our development of a Parkinson's vaccine for theAustrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). Their assessment prompted the FFGto provide considerable financial support for this project."
The AFFITOME technology from AFFiRiS provides a means of targeting veryspecific structures of human rogue proteins with patented product candidates.AFFiRiS has already succeeded in developing two vaccines and a hemodialysisprogram for the treatment of Alzheimer's. These therapies only targetspecific structures found on harmful fragments of beta-amyloid, which is saidto be responsible for Alzheimer's. Both Alzheimer's vaccines are currentlybeing trialled on Alzheimer patients. In October, a licence option agreementworth up to EUR 430 million was concluded with GlaxoSmithKline Biologicalsfor their further clinical development market launch and sales.
About AFFiRiS GmbH (as at December 2008):
AFFiRiS GmbH develops peptide-based vaccines for the treatment ofAlzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis and other serious diseases. The companyhas established its AFFITOME platform technology. It employs 35 highlyqualified members of staff on 1,800sqm of rented laboratory facilities at theCampus Vienna Biocenter (http://www.affiris.com). AFFITOME and AFFITOPE areregistered trademarks of AFFiRiS GmbH.
The participation of MIG Verwaltungs AG in Affiris GmbH represents thecontinuation of a tried-and-tested approach. Investment is only made inselected companies in Germany and Austria after their viability has beenthoroughly audited. Their innovative, high-potential products and theentrepreneurial skills of their management teams are both key. MIGVerwaltungs AG is supported by Alfred Wieder AG. This specialist in venturecapital is experienced in the sale of holdings and is therefore the firstpoint of contact for any potential investors.Contact for Affiris GmbH: Mag. Agnes Meyer Campus Vienna Biocenter 1030 Vienna T +43-1-798-15-75-10 E [email protected]
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SOURCE AFFiRiS GmbH