OXFORD, UK – 9th -- February 2011 – Circassia Ltd, a specialty biopharmaceutical company
focused on allergy, today announced that it has acquired the worldwide development and
commercialization rights to the novel topical therapeutic for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, PAP-1.
Circassia acquired the rights to the proprietary molecule from Airmid Inc, for an undisclosed upfront
sum plus milestone payments and royalties on future product sales.
PAP-1 is one of the most potent and selective Kv1.3 inhibitors known, and has ideal topical
delivery characteristics. The molecule is a highly specific immunosuppressant, acting on effector
memory T-cells while leaving naïve and central memory T-cells intact, and has demonstrated
impressive activity in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis models when applied topically.
“PAP-1 is an ideal strategic fit with Circassia’s focus on immuno-based therapeutics, and we intend
to advance this novel treatment into the clinic as quickly as possible,” said Dr Rod Hafner,
Circassia’s Vice President, R&D. “PAP-1’s extremely selective immunosuppression combined
with its excellent topical delivery characteristics make it the ideal candidate for a psoriasis and
atopic dermatitis treatment. By specifically targeting effector memory T-cells and leaving other
components of the immune system intact, PAP-1 has the potential to offer the efficacy of topical
steroids while avoiding their side-effects.”
“Out-licensing topical PAP-1 is a major milestone for Airmid, and we are delighted to have attracted a
team of Circassia’s high caliber to progress the development of this important therapeutic,” said Dr
George Miljanich, CEO of Airmid. “We look forward to Circassia’s success, which will further
validate this class of novel molecules as a highly promising source of safe and effective medicines.”
About Circassia’s allergy T-cell vaccines
Circassia is developing a range of allergy T-cell vaccines based on its proprietary ToleroMune® technology.
The company has successfully completed a number of phase II studies with its cat, house dust mite and
ragweed allergy products, and its grass allergy therapeutic is in clinical testing. Clinical results to date show
that short treatment regimes with Circassia’s T-cell vaccines can greatly reduce patients’ allergic reactions,
without the need for adjuvants or other immune stimulators, while proving extremely well tolerated. As a
result, the treatments offer major potential clinical benefits compared with existing therapies, and have
significant market opportunities. Over 150 million people suffer from allergic rhinitis in the US and Europe,
and the current treatment market is approximately $12 billion per year.
Circassia was founded in 2006 by a team of highly experienced biotechnology scientists and entrepreneurs,
and is chaired by the former Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, Sir Richard Sykes. The company is based in the
UK on the Oxford Science Park, and in Hamilton, Canada, where its joint venture Adiga Life Sciences is
located. Its ToleroMune technology was developed originally by scientists at Imperial College, London.
Having successfully completed three fundraising rounds Circassia is backed by a syndicate of world-class
venture capital and institutional investors, including Imperial Innovations, Invesco Perpetual, Goldman Sachs
and Lansdowne Partners.
Airmid is a privately held pharmaceutical company based in Redwood City, California. The company is
focused on developing its proprietary novel potassium ion channel blockers as safer and more effective
medicines for a variety of autoimmune diseases that are inadequately treated by current therapies. These
include multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The company’s lead investor is the
Biotechnology Value Fund. For more information on Airmid please visit www.airmid.com.
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