Vienna, April 21, 2008 – Intercell AG (VSE: ICLL) today announced that the joint project to develop protective treatments against fungal infections was awarded an EU‐grant.
Intercell is coordinating a European consortium of three academic and commercial partners within the “CanVac” project. The project aims at developing a vaccine and/or a monoclonal antibody‐based therapy against infections caused by the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans.
CanVac was one of 41 selected projects among 125 applications submitted for the first two EuroTransBio transnational calls of the European Commission and is eligible to receive funds of EUR 1.5 m. The project is scheduled to run for three years and builds on the expertise of leading scientists and biotech companies in Austria and Germany.
Together with the Christian Doppler Research Association (CDG), Intercell AG is also supporting the newly established Christian Doppler Laboratory (CDL) in Infection Biology
“PathoFUN”. PathoFUN is located at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, Campus Vienna Biocenter. The CDL is headed by the renowned expert in fungal pathogenesis, Prof. Karl Kuchler.
PathoFunwill focus on genomic approaches to understand fungal virulence and on developing vaccines and/or monoclonal antibody‐based therapies against infections caused by fungal pathogens such as Candida and Aspergillus species.
“Our dramatic progress in evolving our AIP technology (antigen identification program) has made it now possible to identify disease‐relevant and protective antigens from much more complex pathogens than bacteria, such as fungi. Alongside with our outstanding partners in the EC consortium, and within the new Christian Doppler Laboratory on Infection Biology, I
am confident that we have built an excellent franchise which will enable us to quickly find relevant targets leading to novel antibody treatments and vaccines in an arena where development of antifungal drugs only reluctantly move forward”, states Alexander von Gabain, Intercell’s Chief Scientific Officer.
Importantly, antifungal treatments are often hampered by resistant strains, as well as by severe side effects while not being able to prevent recurrent infections in a significant numbe of patients. CanVac was initiated by Intercell AG and its partners to systematically identify antigens suitable for the development of monoclonal antibodies or vaccines. CanVac shall be applying expertise and technologies ranging from full genome sequencing and genome‐wide antigen identification to infectious disease models suitable to evaluate candidate antigens.
At present, no approved vaccines exist to prevent Candidiasis or Aspergillosis in humans.
Since antifungal drug resistance is emerging rapidly, mortality rates and the impairment in the quality of life of patients can only be overcome by new strategies to diagnose, prevent or treat severe systemic fungal disease. The establishment of the CDL will greatly support Intercell AG
in its efforts to develop vaccines and monoclonal antibodies for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. The CDL will benefit from the network of academic and industrial partners at the Campus Vienna Biocenter, including the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, the CDL
Proteomics and Intercell AG.
Candidiasis, also know as “yeast infection”, is very common and usually happens when a weak immune system allows commensal Candida species to overgrow the normal body flora.
Since no vaccines exist to prevent Candidiasis and antifungal drug resistances hamper therapy, new strategies are needed which allow broad protection or treatment in the global fight against this serious medical condition.
C. albicans is normally a harmless commensal in most healthy people, but it can cause both non‐severe infections and life‐threatening systemic candidiasis with high mortality rates. In particular, Candida species are the leading cause of fungemias worldwide and account for one of the leading causes of nosocomial blood stream infections.
Partners of Intercell AG’s fungal franchise:
» Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Austria (http://www.mfpl.ac.at)
» GATC Biotech, Germany (http://www.gatc‐biotech.com)
» Christian Doppler Gesellschaft (http://www.cdg.ac.at)
» CDL at the Medical University of Vienna (http://www.meduniwien.ac.at)
About Intercell AG:
Intercell AG is a growing biotechnology company which focuses on the design and development of novel vaccines for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases with substantial unmet medical need. The company develops antigens and adjuvants which are derived from its proprietary technology platforms and has in‐house GMP manufacturing capabilities. Based on these technologies, Intercell has strategic partnerships with a number of global pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis, Merck & Co., Inc., Wyeth, Sanofi Pasteur, Kirin, and the Statens Serum Institut.
The Company’s leading product, a prophylactic vaccine against Japanese Encephalitis,
successfully concluded pivotal Phase III clinical trials in 2006. The Market Authorization Application (MAA) in Europe as well as the Biological License Application (BLA) with the US
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of the vaccine to prevent Japanese Encephalitis were submitted in December of 2007. The licensure application to TGA
(Therapeutic Goods Administration) in Australia was submitted in February of 2008.
The company’s broad development pipeline includes a partnered S. aureus vaccine in Phase II,
a therapeutic vaccine against Hepatitis C in Phase II, a Pseudomonas vaccine in Phase II, a partnered Tuberculosis vaccine (Phase I/II), and five products focused on infectious diseases in preclinical development.
Intercell is listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange under the symbol “ICLL”.
For more information please visit: www.intercell.com
Contact Intercell AG:
Lucia Malfent Head of Corporate Communications Campus Vienna Biocenter 2, A‐1030 Vienna P: +43‐1‐20620‐303 Mail to: LMalfent(at)intercell.com