Allergy Therapeutics plc (LON:AGY), the fully integrated commercial biotechnology company specialising in allergy vaccines, has announced further investment in virus-like particle (VLP) technology for applications beyond the allergy immunotherapy field. Allergy therapeutics entered into an exclusive licence agreement with Saiba AG and DeepVax GmbH to use their patented VLP technology platform to develop and commercialise vaccines targeting solid cancer tumours, atopic dermatitis, asthma, and psoriasis.
The group has an existing license agreement with Saiba and DeepVax, exclusively licensing their technology for the Group’s development of a new VLP vaccine immunotherapy treatment for peanut allergy sufferers. Submission of the clinical trial application for that candidate vaccine is anticipated in 2021 and follows previously published encouraging preclinical results1.
The latest licensing agreement with Saiba and DeepVax includes upfront payments, which are not material in Group terms, plus further milestone payments at key points in clinical development, as well as royalty payments if candidates are commercialised.
The Group believes the use of VLP technology is a novel approach to generating active vaccines against appropriate cytokines, the small proteins that are crucial to cell signalling in the immune pathway for many diseases. Current approaches, including monoclonal antibodies, can have the limitation of a transient effect meaning repeated treatments are required. The Group believes the VLP approach could offer many benefits including sustained efficacy and a much lower cost per patient.
In pursuing this approach, Allergy Therapeutics intends to investigate the potential of combining VLP technology with its adjuvant systems including MCT (microcrystalline tyrosine). Adjuvant technologies are a key element of AGY’s strategy and have the potential to create immunotherapies that act faster, generate a sustained response, and work more efficiently than traditional therapies. Prior studies have already demonstrated the Group’s adjuvant technologies have a synergistic effect in certain disease models2.
The Group plans to evaluate these new therapies via initial pre-clinical evaluation and, should these studies be successful, will explore future clinical development and potential partnering opportunities, alongside discussions with regulatory authorities.
Manuel Llobet, CEO at Allergy Therapeutics, stated: “This is a very exciting opportunity for Allergy Therapeutics, enabling us to take the first steps into the broader vaccine field using a technology platform that we are familiar with and already using in our peanut allergy candidate vaccine. While the allergy field remains our core focus, we believe VLP technology has potential across multiple therapies areas where there remains huge unmet need among patients. This is an opportunity to provide significant improvements to current treatment approaches used for a number of solid cancer and immune conditions and a more convenient treatment option for patients, which is the founding principle of our business.”
Martin Bachmann, Founder of Saiba and CSO of DeepVax, stated: “This is a very important opportunity and milestone for Saiba and DeepVax. It advances four of our major programs towards clinical status and proof-of-concept. In addition, it reflects an important progression and validation of our CuMVtt-VLP platform.”