London, 1 February 2011, Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, or ‘Innovations’), a leading technology commercialisation and investment company, announces that its portfolio company Circassia has successfully completed a key large-scale phase II clinical study of its ToleroMune® cat allergy treatment, achieving a significant reduction in allergy symptoms and providing scientific proof of concept for the final stage of development.
Circassia, a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on allergy, conducted the placebo-controlled double-blind phase II study in Toronto, Canada. The trial included 202 patients with confirmed cat allergies, and compared two short regimes of ToleroMune treatment with placebo.
Circassia is developing a range of allergy T-cell vaccines based on its proprietary ToleroMune® technology and has successfully completed a number of phase II studies with its cat, house dust mite and ragweed allergy products, while its grass allergy therapeutic is in clinical testing. These treatments offer significant market opportunities – more than 150 million people suffer from allergic rhinitis in the US and Europe, while the current treatment market is worth approximately $12 billion per year.
Susan Searle, Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Innovations said:
“These Phase II clinical results provide further evidence that Circassia’s T-cell vaccines are effective and safe. The company has established a substantial portfolio in allergy, a market we consider to be highly attractive, and is led by a strong, focused management team. The progress being made by Circassia demonstrates the strength of the Innovations model, which focuses on the rapid and profitable commercialisation of pioneering research. We congratulate Circassia on its success in this latest step towards the next stage of its development.”
Steve Harris, Circassia’s CEO said:
“By achieving a significant reduction in symptoms after just four doses, whilst also proving extremely well tolerated, our novel T-cell vaccine has demonstrated the true potential of ToleroMune to revolutionise allergy treatment. Our approach contrasts sharply with traditional immunotherapies, which can require dosing over a number of years under expert supervision due to the possibility of severe and even life-threatening reactions. These new clinical results, combined with our earlier successful phase II studies, scientifically validate both our ToleroMune technology and the commercial formulation we intend to progress into the final stage of development.”
Imperial Innovations +44 (0) 20 7594 6589
Susan Searle, Chief Executive Officer
Diana Crisp, PR manager
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Tim Watson/Kay Larsen
Alain Maiore +33 (0)1 58 19 21 55
Alexandra Guy +33 (0)1 41 10 08 08
J.P. Morgan Cazenove (NOMAD to Imperial Innovations) +44 (0) 20 7588 2828
Innovations creates, builds and invests in pioneering technologies addressing global problems in healthcare, energy, engineering and the environment. It combines deep understanding of science and technology with commercial acumen and strong investment expertise.
Innovations supports scientist-entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas by:
- leading the formation of new companies and providing facilities in the early stages;
- providing significant investment and encouraging co-investment to accelerate the transition from R&D to products;
- providing operational expertise; and
- helping to recruit high-calibre industry figures and experienced entrepreneurs as executive management and Board members.
In December 2010 Innovations raised £140 million to accelerate the making of, and increase the size of, investments in companies established under its existing intellectual property pipeline agreement with Imperial College London. The Group also intends to invest in companies founded by or based on technology from the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and University College London.
Innovations has already achieved significant success with its early investments; for example its £1.5m investment in obesity drug developer Thiakis could return up to £22m, following its sale for £100m in 2008, while the sale of Respivert, a small molecule drug discovery company, resulted in Innovations realising £9.5m, a 4.7x return on investment.
In the year to 31 July 2010, Innovations invested £14.0m in 20 ventures, helping to launch three new companies. With a technology portfolio of more than 80 companies, Innovations’ most advanced assets include:
- Circassia: Innovative T-cell vaccines for the treatment of a wide range of allergies
- Nexeon: Advanced materials that extend the cycle life and significantly increase capacity of rechargeable batteries
- Veryan: Stents inspired by the human vascular system
- PsiOxus Therapeutics: Developing a pipeline of small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of wasting diseases and cancer.
- Polytherics: Biotechnology company that applies precision chemistry to develop protein and peptide-based drugs
- Cellmedica: Cell therapy company working on new techniques to cure human diseases based on cellular immunotherapy
- Evo Electric: Develops and manufactures advanced electric machines, hybrid drive trains and generator sets for a wide range of transportation and mobile power applications
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 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.