Affiris GmbH has secured another Europe-wide patent for an innovative method of treating Alzheimer's disease. This new blood-cleansing method is similar to dialysis and is designed to reduce the amount of harmful protein deposits in the brain. It is based on the AFFITOME technology established by Affiris, which was patented in October 2007 for an Alzheimer's vaccine. The use of this technology to cleanse the blood underlines the leading international role that Affiris plays in the development of innovative Alzheimer's treatments, a role that has been underpinned financially by investment from the German company MIG-Fonds.
Affiris GmbH, which is based in Vienna, Austria, today announced that it has been granted a Europe-wide patent for a new method of reducing the amount of harmful protein deposits (beta-amyloid) in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. A key feature of this method is the cleansing of the patient¹s blood (apheresis). This enables the targeted removal of the proteins that cause the accumulation of deposits in the brain, and therefore the onset of the disease.
Dr. Walter Schmidt, CEO of Affiris GmbH, comments on the importance of the patent: "Affiris already has its first proprietary vaccine for the treatment of Alzheimer's in clinical testing and a second is set to follow later this year. Our apheresis is an alternative approach to the treatment of Alzheimer's and complements our vaccine strategy. We have therefore successfully advanced our business plans for this indication and we will now harness the potential of AFFITOME technology for the development of further therapies. In accordance with our corporate strategy, we will focus on medical needs that have not yet been adequately addressed but offer significant market potential, such as Alzheimer's or Atherosclerosis."
The recently patented process involves fixing receptor molecules onto a carrier material and using them to bind the beta-amyloid that can lead to the formation of plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The fixed receptor molecules from Affiris, which can help reduce the amount of beta-amyloid present in the blood (serum), can be deployed during hemodialysis.
What may, at first glance, seem a somewhat unusual approach using hemodialysis to achieve therapeutic effects in the brain is actually based on sound science, as Dr. Schmidt explains: "The beta-amyloid molecules that lead to the formation of plaques can penetrate the blood-brain barrier via directed transport. As a result, their concentration in the brain correlates directly to their concentration in the blood. If we can reduce beta-amyloid concentrations in the blood as our apheresis permits us to beta-amyloid is then transported out of the brain and into the bloodstream until the concentration is balanced again. Consequently, removing beta-amyloid from the blood gradually reduces the concentration of beta-amyloid and its fragments in the brain."
The key to this is ensuring that the receptor molecules have the correct binding properties. Affiris AFFITOME technology delivers these properties by enabling scientists to define and generate molecules with very specific binding characteristics. This technology also offers a significant advantage in the development of vaccines against human rogue proteins. In this case, it means that autoimmune reactions can be avoided, as Affiris has already proven with its first Alzheimer's vaccine.
Michael Motschmann, Senior Fund Manager at MIG-Fonds, explains his views on AFFITOME technology: "AFFITOME technology has already demonstrated its potential in the Alzheimer's vaccine that is currently undergoing clinical testing. As investors, we will now work with Affiris to continue developing this potential for further medical indications. This will underpin the company's leading role in the development of innovative Alzheimer's therapies with a diversified pipeline."
About AFFiRiS GmbH (as at February 2008):
AFFiRiS GmbH develops peptide-based vaccines for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis and other serious diseases. The company has established its AFFITOME platform technologies. It employs 30 highly qualified members of staff on 600 sqm of rented laboratory facilities at the Campus Vienna Biocenter (www.affiris.com).
AFFITOPE and AFFITOME are registered trademarks of Affiris GmbH.
The participation of MIG Verwaltungs AG in Affiris GmbH represents the continuation of a tried-and-tested approach. Investment is only made in selected companies in Germany and Austria after their viability has been thoroughly audited. Their innovative, high-potential products and the entrepreneurial skills of their management teams are both key. MIG Verwaltungs AG is supported by Alfred Wieder AG. This specialist in venture capital is experienced in the sale of holdings and is therefore the first point of contact for any potential investors.
Contact Affiris GmbH:
Dr. Walter Schmidt Campus Vienna Biocenter 2 A-1030 Vienna, Austria T +43 / 1 / 798 15 75 - 10 E walter.schmidt(at)affiris.com
Copy Editing & Distribution:
PR&D - Public Relations for Research & Education, Campus Vienna Biocenter 2 A-1030 Vienna, Austria T +43 / 1 / 505 70 44 E contact(at)prd.at