Circassia completed a £15 million (about $24.4 million) fundraising, which will help the firm move its T-cell vaccine against cat allergy into Phase III trials. On November 20, the firm reported positive results with ToleroMune® and that optimal dosing regimens had been identified.
The Phase II study showed that short treatment regimens with the cat-allergy vaccine could greatly reduce patients' symptoms without the need for adjuvants or other immune stimulators while proving well tolerated, Circassia reports.
The investment round was led by Imperial Innovations and supported by existing shareholders including Invesco Perpetual and Lansdowne Partners. Circassia will also leverage the money to advance clinical development of additional T-cell vaccines, which are based on its ToleroMune platform. This technology utilizes allergen epitopes to generate regulatory T cells that suppress allergic immune responses.
ToleroMune technology has additional regulatory and supply-chain benefits, according to the company. The short peptides utilized in Circassia's vaccines are manufactured chemically, in contrast to existing allergen immunotherapies, which are purified from natural sources. This fits with changes in the European regulatory environment, the firm notes, where authorities are increasingly treating allergen immunotherapies as pharmaceutical products and requiring elimination of the batch-to-batch potency variability that is intrinsic of many currrent treatments.
Circassia began a Phase II trial with its ragweed-allergy vaccine in April, and results are expected in the first half of 2010. The house dust mite allergy vaccine entered Phase II testing in November, and the firm expects that its grass allergy vaccine will enter the clinic in the first half of 2010.