Imperial Innovations Group plc has announced that portfolio company Circassia has successfully completed a large-scale phase II clinical study of its ToleroMune® ragweed allergy treatment.
Ragweed pollen is one of the main allergens responsible for hayfever in the US and its prevalence is increasing across Europe.
The study shows the vaccine achieved a significant reduction in allergy symptoms in those patients whose ragweed allergy was most severe after just a short course of treatment.
Circassia is a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of anti-allergy products.
Circassia has now completed phase II studies with its four leading allergy T-cell vaccines for cat, grass, house dustmite and ragweed validating the Company’s scientific approach.
These results also come after the successful one year follow-up phase II study on Circassia’s cat allergy treatment, which demonstrated that patients maintained a significant reduction in allergy symptoms during a 12 month period after initial treatment.
Circassia has successfully completed four investment rounds to date, raising a total of £93.1m for the development of a range of allergy T-cell vaccines based on an approach of tolerisation of the immune system whereby regulatory T cells suppress allergic immune responses, and desensitize patients to allergens.
These treatments offer significant market opportunities - more than 150 million people suffer from allergic rhinitis in the US and Europe, and more than 25% of the US population, plus a growing number of Europeans, are sensitive to ragweed pollen. The current allergy treatment market is valued at approximately $12 billion per year.
The placebo-controlled double-blind phase II study was conducted in Toronto, Canada. The trial included 275 patients with confirmed ragweed allergies, and compared four short regimes of ToleroMune treatment with placebo.
The results of this phase II trial were presented on 6 March at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Susan Searle, CEO of Imperial Innovations said: “Circassia is one of our most advanced investments and following the £60m fundraising we led last year, we are pleased to see its success in another key clinical trial. It is a great demonstration of the value being created within our portfolio and the quality businesses which we are backing.
Searle continued, “The allergy market opportunity is very substantial. Ragweed is one of the most common causes of hayfever in North America and is growing in prevalence in Europe. To be able to offer such an effective potential treatment is a huge breakthrough in the allergy market and a real validation of Circassia’s IP.”
Steve Harris, Circassia’s CEO said: “The results of this trial are extremely encouraging, because they show our ToleroMune ragweed allergy vaccine has the potential to reduce patients’ symptoms after just a short course of treatment and, more importantly, offer the greatest improvement to those who are suffering the most.
Harris continued, “We have now achieved successful Phase II results with four of our allergy vaccines, which confirms our approach and helps us to progress our programmes into the final phase of clinical development, so we can bring our products to patients as quickly as possible.”