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AFFiRiS AG: Vaccination Against Hypertension is Development Project No. 4 and has Already Been Awarded an FFG Grant of up to EUR 1.2 Million

February 25, 2010

VIENNA, Austria, February 25, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — With immediate effect
AFFiRiS AG is starting a development program for vaccination against
hypertension. For this project the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)
is providing development funds of up to EUR 1.2 million. With today’s
announcement four of the current seven vaccine projects of AFFiRiS AG are in
the public domain. As with the other vaccines under development – to treat
Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and atherosclerosis – the new
vaccine will be based on the company’s own AFFITOME(R) technology. However,
for the first time it is now being used against a human hormone. The reason
for this announcement is the gratifying approval of significant development
funds by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency, FFG.

Today, Viennese biotech company AFFiRiS AG announced the start of a new
program to develop a vaccine against hypertension. This means that there are
now four of the company’s current seven development projects in the public
domain. The specific reason for the “outing” of project no. 4 was the
approval of public research promotion funds by the FFG. The vaccine is
targeting angiotensin II, a peptide hormone that can cause narrowing of the
blood vessels and thereby hypertension.

Dr. Walter Schmidt, CEO of AFFiRiS AG comments on the company’s
development pipeline: “With projects in seven different indications at the
moment, AFFiRiS AG has achieved a broad diversification of potential
development risks. While building up this pipeline we were consequently
guided by our strategic focus, which is targeting disease areas with very
large numbers of patients and lack of optimal therapies. We believe that
systematic risk distribution, together with a focus on indications with a
high market potential is the key for substantial success of a biotechnology
company. The early VC investment by MIG Fonds AG, Munich, was of substancial
importance for the establishment of our strong development pipeline. Our
first licensing agreement on our Alzheimer’s vaccination approach valued at
up to EUR 430 million, shows that the pharmaceutical industry does already
believe in our technology.”

So far AFFiRiS AG had announced the development of two vaccines for
Alzheimer’s disease as well as one each for Parkinson’s disease and
atherosclerosis. These diseases affect hundreds of millions of people
worldwide. The development of a vaccine for the treatment of hypertension is
now of similar importance as hypertension is one of the major causes of
diseases of the cardiovascular system and thus one of the most frequent
causes of disease-induced deaths worldwide.

AFFiRiS AG is once again able to take advantage of its unique AFFITOME(R)
platform technology which allows the generation of vaccines targeting
autologous structures such as proteins and peptides. With Angiotensin II
AFFiRiS AG is addressing a human hormone for the first time. This peptide
hormone brings about vasoconstriction thereby increasing the blood pressure
and is therefore presenting a promising target structure for intervention in
chronic hypertension.

With regard to this therapy approach CSO Dr. Frank Mattner states:
“Although chronic hypertension can be treated with drugs, the patient has to
be precisely attuned to them and must then take medication constantly which
often doesn’t work out. Our vaccine is intended to lower the burden of
strictly following this medication dictate, thereby contributing to ensuring
lasting success. Taking into account the long term aspect of how hypertension
leads to the often fatal sequelae such as heart diseases, stroke and kidney
problems in the long term, sustainability is key for treatment’s success”.

The idea of intervening in the body hormone regulation of blood pressure
by means of a vaccine arose in recent years. Dr Schmidt explains: “In order
to develop a vaccine that can reduce hypertension, it must be able to trigger
a highly specific immune response. The blood pressuring- increasing
angiotensin II and the blood pressure-reducing angiotensin 1-7 differ by only
one amino acid, while the remainder of the structure is identical. Our
AFFITOME(R) technology allows us to adjust the immune response such that only
angiotensin II is addressed. There was a similarly tricky problem in our
first project, the Alzheimer’s vaccine which we also solved successfully.”

About AFFiRiS AG (date February 2010):

On the basis of the company’s own patents, AFFiRiS develops tailor-made
peptide vaccines against Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, Parkinson’s
disease and four other conditions with an urgent medical requirement and
attractive market volumes. Alzheimer’s is the current guideline indication,
and here two potential products have just completed the phase I clinical
studies. In October 2008 GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals became the licence
partner for the Alzheimer’s vaccine. The contract envisages (
milestone-dependent) payments of up to EUR 430 million. A payment of EUR 10
million
was triggered in October by the positive completion of two clinical
phase I studies. At present AFFiRiS has 60 highly qualified employees working
at the St. Marx campus in Vienna, Austria (http://www.affiris.com).

    Contact AFFiRiS AG:
    Mag. Agnes Meyer
    Karl-Farkas-Gasse 22
    1030 Vienna
    Austria
    T +43-1-798-15-75-390
    E agnes.meyer@affiris.com

    Copy Editing & Distribution:
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    Campus Vienna Biocenter 2
    1030 Vienna
    Austria
    T +43-1-505-70-44
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SOURCE AFFiRiS AG


Source: newswire