(Sharecast News) - Biotechnology company Allergy Therapeutics announced further investment in virus-like particle (VLP) technology for applications beyond the allergy immunotherapy field on Thursday.
The AIM-traded firm said it had entered into an exclusive licence agreement with Saiba and DeepVax to use their patented VLP technology platform, to develop and commercialise vaccines targeting solid cancer tumours, atopic dermatitis, asthma, and psoriasis.
Allergy said it had an existing license agreement with Saiba and DeepVax, exclusively licensing their technology for the development of a new VLP vaccine immunotherapy treatment for peanut allergy sufferers.
Submission of the clinical trial application for that candidate vaccine was expected in 2021, following previously-published, "encouraging" preclinical results.
The company said the new licensing agreement with Saiba and DeepVax includes upfront payments, which would not be material in group terms, as well as further milestone payments at key points in clinical development, and royalty payments if candidates are commercialised.
Allergy's board said it believed the use of VLP technology was a novel approach to generating active vaccines against appropriate cytokines - the small proteins that are crucial to cell signalling in the immune pathway for many diseases.
Current approaches, including monoclonal antibodies, could have the limitation of a transient effect, meaning repeated treatments would be required.
The group said it believed the VLP approach could offer a number of benefits, including sustained efficacy and a much lower cost per patient.
In pursuing the approach, Allergy Therapeutics said it was intending to investigate the potential of combining VLP technology with its adjuvant systems including microcrystalline tyrosine (MCT).
Adjuvant technologies were described by the company as a "key element" of its strategy, having the potential to create immunotherapies that acted faster, generated a sustained response, and worked more efficiently than traditional therapies.
Prior studies had already demonstrated the group's adjuvant technologies had a "synergistic effect" in certain disease models.
The group said it planned to evaluate the new therapies via initial pre-clinical evaluation and, should those studies be successful, would explore future clinical development and potential partnering opportunities, alongside discussions with regulatory authorities.
"This is a very exciting opportunity for Allergy Therapeutics, enabling us to take the first steps into the broader vaccine field using a technology platform that we are familiar with and already using in our peanut allergy candidate vaccine," said chief executive officer Manuel Llobet.
"While the allergy field remains our core focus, we believe VLP technology has potential across multiple therapies areas where there remains huge unmet need among patients.
"This is an opportunity to provide significant improvements to current treatment approaches used for a number of solid cancer and immune conditions and a more convenient treatment option for patients, which is the founding principle of our business."
At 1524 BST, shares in Allergy Therapeutics were up 6.78% at 19.22p.
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