PD01 candidate is designed to trigger immune reaction to alpha-synuclein in the brain.

AFFiRiS has been awarded a $475,000 grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to complete the preclinical development of its PD01 vaccine candidate against Parkinson disease. The candidate is based on AFFiRiS’ Affitome® technology, and is designed to trigger an immune response to the alpha-synuclein protein. The firm projects this will lead to a reduction in alpha-synclein in the brain, and potentially slow or even halt disease progression. Preclinical proof-of-concept with PD01 was achieved in March.

AFFiRiS is currently exploiting the Affitome technology to develop peptide-based vaccines against Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and four other diseases. Phase II evaluation of lead Alzheimer disease candidate, AD02, was initiated in April. The Alzheimer disease programs are partnered with GlaxoSmithKline.

The Affitome technology enables the design of short peptides that functionally mimic highly specific native structures that are the key disease targets. Based on these peptides, vaccines can then be generated that induce antibodies targeting pathological variants of human proteins, but not the normal protein variants

AFFiRis’ has another two Alzheimer disease candidates in clinical development. AD01 has completed Phase I evaluation, and AD03 is in early Phase I evaluation. An atherosclerosis vaccine candidate is nearing completion of preclinical development.

The Alzheimer disease partnership with GSK was initiated in 2008. A milestone payment of €10 million was made to AFFiRis in October 2009 on the the positive completion of two clinical Phase I studies with AD01 and AD02. The firm could potentially receive a total of some €430 million in milestones.

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