New financing helps Anergis take allergy vaccine to Phase III

Strong Phase IIb data for Anergis' birch allergy vaccine, AllerT, was enough to convince all the company's existing investors to come back for a Series B financing round--and some new ones, too. And now, the company has rounded up the cash to take the candidate into Phase III.

The Swiss biotech has raised CHF 14.5 million ($15 million) that will go toward the late-phase program, it said. Existing investors Sunstone Capital, BioMedInvest and Renaissance PME returned for the round, while two U.S.-based offices--including newcomer WJFS--joined the party to help bring Anergis' private equity total to CHF 44 million ($45.4 million).

So far, the fast-acting prospect has shown the potential to create long-term immune memory. In September, Anergis reported that in a trial Phase IIb trial of 196 seasonal allergy sufferers, subjects who had received AllerT showed significant reductions in symptoms, with the vaccine hitting its primary and main secondary endpoints.

But WJFS, for one, is already looking past AllerT to the company's wider potential. Since Anergis' Contiguous Overlapping Peptide technology platform "will allow developing products for additional allergy indications, we believe that Anergis' portfolio has great potential for establishing a new generation of allergy treatments," WJFS CEO Robert Donohue said in a statement.

Donohue also believes Anergis' products will present "highly significant advantages" over on-the-market allergen immunotherapies, and the company is hoping that's the case. Anergis thinks its approach will let it administer high doses without the risk of side effects, shaving down the time it takes to desensitize people to an allergen.

But other companies have the same idea. France's Stallergenes and Britain's Circassia both have birch pollen vaccines in their early-stage pipelines, and all three companies have candidates against ragweed and dust mites, FierceBiotech reports.

- read Anergis' release (PDF)
- see FierceBiotech's take in our EuroBiotech Report