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Apitope Raises EUR 10 Million in Series A Financing

10/22/2008 6:49:46 AM

Diepenbeek, Belgium, October 22, 2008 – Apitope International NV, the developer of novel peptide-based therapies for autoimmune diseases and allergies, today announced the closing of a EUR 10 million series A financing. The funds will be used to further develop ATXMS- 1467, which is due to enter Phase II trials next year to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Apitope is also developing a MS diagnostic product and treatments for Factor VIII resistance and Type I diabetes.

The fund raising was co-led by LRM and Vesalius Biocapital. Other investors in the round included VINNOF and the University of Hasselt (UHasselt). Innovator Capital, the Londonbased investment bank, advised on and managed the capital raising for Apitope. Prof. David Wraith, CSO and founder of Apitope said: “This important new funding builds on the outstanding results of our first clinical trial funded by The Wellcome Trust and with the support of the University of Bristol. We will now build on the strong synergies between the teams in Bristol and Hasselt to secure our leading position in the field of autoimmunity.” In addition to the financing, Apitope signed a strategic collaboration with UHasselt and acquired intellectual property rights to novel diagnostics for the early detection of autoimmune diseases.

“This strategic collaboration with Apitope, financially supported by a strong syndicate of life science investors, confirms our leading position in this field.” added Prof. Piet Stinissen, Director of BioMed, UHasselt. “This partnership not only allows us to leverage our know-how and intellectual property beyond the academic environment, but is also a powerful incentive for the expansion of the life science industry in our region.” As part of this financing round, Apitope set-up a new holding company, Apitope International NV, headquartered in Diepenbeek, Belgium. All therapeutic programmes will continue to be developed in the Bristol-based subsidiary with development of the novel autoimmune disease diagnostic products concentrated in Diepenbeek.

Stefan Verdood, partner at Vesalius Biocapital Partners added: “Vesalius took a co-lead position in the Apitope transaction because of its outstanding science, strong management and sound business model. The fact the company is willing to merge with complementary Flemish science and activities strengthens our belief in the future success of Apitope.“ Nico Vandervelpen and Dr. Kris Motmans will join Apitope’s board, representing LRM and Stephane Verdood and Alain Parthoens will represent Vesalius Biocapital. Other supervisory board members are Dr. Keith Martin, CEO of Apitope, Prof. David Wraith, Mr. Richard Daniels and Dr. Geoffrey Vernon. Prof. Piet Stinissen and Prof. Veerle Somers from BioMed, will join Apitope’s scientific advisory board.

”Our commitment in this deal demonstrates the focus of LRM on life sciences as one of the key knowledge areas in our region.” commented Nico Vandervelpen, Head of Life Science Investments with LRM. “Apitope’s commitment to set-up operations in Diepenbeek confirms the attractiveness of the province of Limburg to foreign life sciences companies. It is our intention to continue focusing on our key competences in order to stimulate the development of this promising technological field in our region.”

“We are very excited to be working with our new investors who bring important expertise to Apitope. The strategic relationship with the University of Hasselt enables us to significantly broaden our product offering,” said Dr. Keith Martin, CEO of Apitope. “This financial and strategic relationship provides us with a firm foundation to build on the outstanding successes that Apitope has achieved.”

For more information on this press release please contact: Apitope International NV Dr Keith Martin, CEO Tel: ++44 (0) 117 903 1119 email: For the UK and US Innovator Capital Limited Shaun Brown Tel: +44 (0) 20 7297 6840 For continental Europe Comfi NV Véronique Beauvois Tel: +32 (0) 2 290 90 90 email:

About Apitope Apitope International NV is a biopharmaceutical company with headquarters in Diepenbeek, Belgium and a subsidiary in Bristol, the United Kingdom. The Company was initially financed by the Richard Daniels family and is developing novel advantaged products representing major advances in therapy and addressing critical unmet needs that can revolutionise the treatment of chronic autoimmune and allergic disorders. Both types of diseases are caused by an inappropriate reaction of the patient’s immune system against self (autoimmune) or foreign (allergic) antigens.

Apitope’s technology platform for the design of peptide therapeutics (Antigen Processing Independent epiTOPES or ApitopesTM) is based on established scientific evidence showing that soluble, synthetic peptides can reinstate tolerance and attenuate pathological immune responses. The unique Apitope peptides function as tolerogens exerting their therapeutic effect via an highly selective immune re-balancing process that, in pre-clinical studies, has been linked to the induction of IL-10 secreting regulatory T cells. These peptides selectively inhibit the immune system's harmful attack on the body while preserving the normal immune response to harmful antigens, such as infections.

Apitope is developing novel peptide therapeutics for MS, Factor VIII resistance and Type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and the common allergies. The lead product, ATX-MS-1467 for the treatment of MS, has recently passed a successful phase I/IIa study and is about to enter phase IIb development. Apitope recently reported the results of a phase I/IIa open label trial in six patients with Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS). Besides demonstrating good safety and tolerability, preliminary evidence of a positive clinical response against the vaccine was observed in two patients. A second vaccine candidate for treating Factor VIII resistance is planned to enter clinical development in 2009. Apitope is also developing novel diagnostic products for the early detection of autoimmune diseases such as MS and RA. The diagnostic activities are centralised in Diepenbeek, Belgium. About BioMed - UHasselt The Biomedical Research Institute (BIOMED) is a life sciences research institute of Hasselt University with a staff of 80 researchers, clinicians and technicians. The key research domains are focused on neuro-inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis) and development of biosensors. BIOMED has over 20 years of experience in multiple sclerosis research with a primary interest in understanding the immunological basis of disease and the development of new therapies. BIOMED has developed a panel of candidate biomarkers for autoimmune diseases. The Institute collaborates with various local hospitals including the MS clinic in Overpelt. BIOMED has a strategic partnership with the Technology Transfer Office of VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology). BIOMED is actively involved in academic education in de medical and life sciences. Prof. dr. Piet Stinissen is director of BIOMED.

About LRM LRM, the “Investeringsmaatschappij voor Limburg” supports the economical development in Limburg with her expertise in venture capital, real estate and project development. The venture capital arm of LRM provides risk capital to local and international ventures that invest in the province of Limburg with a technological focus on Life Sciences, clean tech and ICT. The venture arm of LRM also finances and advises management buy-outs and buy-ins. LRM’s current venture capital portfolio consists of more than 60 participations. The real estate and project development division of LRM invests in durable projects relating to real estate projects, infrastructure, the development of industrial areas, utilities and urban development.

About Vesalius Biocapital Vesalius Biocapital S.A. SICAR is a Luxembourg venture capital fund focusing on the creation and growth of European non-quoted life science companies. The Fund invests in those areas that have highest profit potential: new therapeutics, cutting-edge medical devices, innovative drug delivery technologies as well as (non-) clinical diagnostics and screening tests with a high utility level.

Vesalius Biocapital S.A. SICAR aims to build an investment portfolio of 10 to 15 non-public life science companies, with an adequate balance between early- and later-stage product developments and for which short- and middle-term value creation opportunities have been clearly identified. The Fund’s profile will be dynamically adjusted within its strategy to mitigate inherent potential risks of the portfolio. The Fund’s primary geographic focus includes the Benelux countries, France, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom, areas in which Vesalius has established unique formal links with leading universities and research institutions.

The Fund has aligned a strong investment team composed of Dr. Gaston Matthyssens, Alain Parthoens and Stéphane Verdood. They bring their extensive financial and managerial experience, gained through previous assignments with ING Corporate Investments and the consulting and venture coaching firm Value for Growth. The expertise of the team ranges from extensive investment expertise to operational experience in general management, business development, product development, IP and finance of start-ups and more mature life science companies. Furthermore, individual team members have in-depth technical insights and competitive scouting experience in the biotechnology sector.

About Vinnof Vinnof (Vlaams Innovatiefonds - Flemish Innovation Fund) is an early stage/seed capital provider for young, innovative companies and start-ups based in Flanders. Vinnof is a 100% subsidiary of ParticipatieMaatschappij Vlaanderen NV, the investment company for Flanders

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