Affiris Granted European Patent for Alzheimer’s Vaccine

Vienna, 20. November 2007. Affiris GmbH has been granted a Europe-wide patent for key elements of its Alzheimer’s vaccine. As a result, the company has exclusive rights of use to the peptide sequences for an innovative approach to vaccine development. The tolerability of the first Affiris vaccine, AFFITOPE AD01, is currently being tested as part of a phase I clinical trial. The lead investor in the company, MIG-Fonds, is extremely satisfied with the expanding patent portfolio of Affiris GmbH.

Earlier today, the Austrian company Affiris GmbH, based in Vienna, announced that it has been granted a Europe-wide patent for a pool of peptide sequences that are of key importance to an innovative Alzheimer’s vaccine. The company will be able to use these newly patented components to manufacture an optimized vaccine against beta-amyloid, the peptide responsible for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Walter Schmidt, CEO of Affiris GmbH, comments on the importance of the patent: “This patent is an ideal addition to the Affiris patent portfolio. Our protected AFFITOME technology enables us to target the relevant structures of human rogue proteins. Our individual active substances are known as AFFITOPE, while the entire spectrum of possible substances is referred to as AFFITOME. This new patent grants us the commercial rights of use for this technology in relation to Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, Affiris GmbH is now the only company entitled to develop an optimised Alzheimer’s vaccine that will overcome the problem of potential autoimmune reaction.”

In the past, the issue of potential autoimmune reaction has led to other companies dropping development programmes for Alzheimer’s vaccines during the initial stages. The root of this problem is that the peptide that causes the disease, beta-amyloid, is present in two forms – as part of a protein (APP) in brain cells and detached in brain fluid. However, only detached beta-amyloid is dangerous, as its deposits (plaques) are a typical feature of Alzheimer’s disease. When part of APP, beta-amyloid is essential for healthy brain cell function. If no distinction is made between these two types, an immune response against beta-amyloid can also attack brain cells. Therefore, if a vaccine against Alzheimer’s is to be successful and safe, the immune system must be able to distinguish between detached beta-amyloid and the beta-amyloid that is part of APP.

Newly patented AFFITOME technology from Affiris GmbH does exactly that. It makes it possible to manufacture a vaccine that directs the immune system to attack only the harmful form of beta-amyloid. This patent means that Affiris GmbH has in principle protected all peptide sequences that can be used to attack detached beta-amyloid.

The first Alzheimer’s vaccine from Affiris GmbH, known as AD01, is currently involved in a phase I clinical trial, which is due to be completed by mid-2008. The second vaccine, AD02, will also be undergoing clinical testing by then at the latest. MIG-Fonds, currently the largest investor in the company, is extremely happy with the latest developments. Michael Motschmann, Senior Fund Manager at MIG-Fonds explains: “By recently initiating the phase I clinical trial, Affiris GmbH has achieved an important milestone on schedule. The recent addition to the company’s patent portfolio has now created the legal framework for exclusive use of the Alzheimer’s vaccine in the future. We are extremely pleased!”

About AFFiRiS GmbH (as at November 2007):
AFFiRiS GmbH develops peptide-based vaccines for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis and other serious diseases. The company has established its AFFITOME platform technologies. It employs 30 highly qualified members of staff on 600 sq m of rented laboratory facilities at the Campus Vienna Biocenter (www.affiris.com).
AFFITOPE and AFFITOME are registered trade marks of Affiris GmbH.

About MIG-Fonds:
The participation of MIG Verwaltungs AG in Affiris GmbH represents the continuation of a tried-and-tested approach. Investment is only made in selected companies in Germany and Austria after their viability has been thoroughly audited. Its innovative, high-potential products and the entrepreneurial skills of its management teams are both key. MIG Verwaltungs AG is supported by Alfred Wieder AG. This specialist in venture capital is experienced in the sale of holdings and is therefore the first point of contact for any potential investors.

Contact for Affiris GmbH:
Dr. Walter Schmidt
Campus Vienna Biocenter 2
A-1030 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 798 1575 10
E [email protected]

Copy Editing and Distribution:
PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Development
Campus Vienna Biocenter 2
A-1030 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 70 44
E [email protected]

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