Antigenics Receives NIH Grant for Malaria Study

Apr 05, 2001, 01:00 ET from Antigenics Inc.

    NEW YORK, April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Antigenics Inc. (Nasdaq: AGEN) today
 announced that it has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of
 Health (NIH) to advance the development of a vaccine for the prevention of
 malaria. This development work will be based on the company's QS-21 adjuvant
 technology that has been proven to be superior for activation of antibody
 response.  QS-21 technology is currently in use in clinical trials by a number
 of leading pharmaceutical companies for indications such as HIV, hepatitis and
 genital herpes. The $302,541 grant was awarded based on encouraging results
 from previous pre-clinical studies conducted by Dr. Sandra P. Chang of the
 John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa of the
 malaria protein, MSP1 combined with QS-21.
     The grant was awarded to Antigenics under Phase I of the Small Business
 Technology Transfer Program of the National Institutes of Allergy and
 Infectious Diseases (NIAID) branch of NIH.
     "QS-21 has been demonstrated to be highly effective in enhancing immune
 response to a variety of infectious agents," said Gerald A. Beltz, Ph.D., vice
 president for research and development. "We are pleased that NIAID shares our
 enthusiasm in advancing the study of the MSP1/QS-21 vaccine formulation. We
 expect this grant will take us a step closer in the development of a vaccine
 to prevent a disease that continues to plague much of the world."
     MSP1 (Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein-1) is an antigen
 expressed during the erythrocytic stages of the parasite life cycle that is
 currently under development as a potential malaria vaccine. Studies with
 primate models of human malaria have demonstrated that vaccination with MSP1
 or its fragments results in protection against a potentially lethal P.
 falciparum infection. Earlier studies have shown that high MSP1 specific
 antibody titers were induced by the vaccine.
     Malaria is the world's most important tropical parasitic disease and kills
 over one million people a year, more than any other communicable disease
 except tuberculosis according to the World Health Organization. Worldwide
 prevalence is estimated to be 300-500 million clinical cases each year. The
 disease is mostly concentrated in developing countries but is re-emerging in
 areas where it was previously under control. It exacts an enormous toll in
 lives, in medical costs, and in days of labor lost.
 
     Antigenics Inc. is developing treatments for cancers, serious infections
 and degenerative disorders using its proprietary technologies that program the
 immune system and improve the quality of life. Antigenics' lead cancer
 vaccine, Oncophage(R), in phase III clinical development, is based upon
 pioneering technology, which uses heat shock proteins to activate cellular
 immune responses. Antigenics' antibody based products and technologies include
 Leucogen(R) for protection against feline leukemia virus (approved for U.S.
 and European use in 1991); Quilimmune-P(TM), for prevention of pneumococcal
 infections in the elderly; and Quilimmune-M(TM), for preventing malaria. The
 company also licenses its immune enhancement technologies to pharmaceutical
 partners that include GlaxoSmithKline, Elan Corporation, plc, Aventis Pasteur,
 Wyeth Lederle, VaxGen, Bristol-Myers Squibb (Progenics Pharmaceuticals), Korea
 Green Cross Corporation and Virbac S.A. For more information about the company
 visit http://www.antigenics.com.
 
     This press release contains forward-looking statements. These include
 statements about the development malaria vaccine and the potential commercial
 success of QS-21adjuvant.  Several risks and uncertainties could cause actual
 results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking
 statements.  These factors include the ability to satisfy regulatory
 requirements, the outcome of clinical trials, the efficacy of products that
 are commercialized, the ability to convince the medical community to adopt
 products, competition from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the
 strength of intellectual property rights, the ability to raise capital and the
 risk factors included in the Antigenics SEC filings.
 
 

SOURCE Antigenics Inc.
    NEW YORK, April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Antigenics Inc. (Nasdaq: AGEN) today
 announced that it has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of
 Health (NIH) to advance the development of a vaccine for the prevention of
 malaria. This development work will be based on the company's QS-21 adjuvant
 technology that has been proven to be superior for activation of antibody
 response.  QS-21 technology is currently in use in clinical trials by a number
 of leading pharmaceutical companies for indications such as HIV, hepatitis and
 genital herpes. The $302,541 grant was awarded based on encouraging results
 from previous pre-clinical studies conducted by Dr. Sandra P. Chang of the
 John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa of the
 malaria protein, MSP1 combined with QS-21.
     The grant was awarded to Antigenics under Phase I of the Small Business
 Technology Transfer Program of the National Institutes of Allergy and
 Infectious Diseases (NIAID) branch of NIH.
     "QS-21 has been demonstrated to be highly effective in enhancing immune
 response to a variety of infectious agents," said Gerald A. Beltz, Ph.D., vice
 president for research and development. "We are pleased that NIAID shares our
 enthusiasm in advancing the study of the MSP1/QS-21 vaccine formulation. We
 expect this grant will take us a step closer in the development of a vaccine
 to prevent a disease that continues to plague much of the world."
     MSP1 (Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein-1) is an antigen
 expressed during the erythrocytic stages of the parasite life cycle that is
 currently under development as a potential malaria vaccine. Studies with
 primate models of human malaria have demonstrated that vaccination with MSP1
 or its fragments results in protection against a potentially lethal P.
 falciparum infection. Earlier studies have shown that high MSP1 specific
 antibody titers were induced by the vaccine.
     Malaria is the world's most important tropical parasitic disease and kills
 over one million people a year, more than any other communicable disease
 except tuberculosis according to the World Health Organization. Worldwide
 prevalence is estimated to be 300-500 million clinical cases each year. The
 disease is mostly concentrated in developing countries but is re-emerging in
 areas where it was previously under control. It exacts an enormous toll in
 lives, in medical costs, and in days of labor lost.
 
     Antigenics Inc. is developing treatments for cancers, serious infections
 and degenerative disorders using its proprietary technologies that program the
 immune system and improve the quality of life. Antigenics' lead cancer
 vaccine, Oncophage(R), in phase III clinical development, is based upon
 pioneering technology, which uses heat shock proteins to activate cellular
 immune responses. Antigenics' antibody based products and technologies include
 Leucogen(R) for protection against feline leukemia virus (approved for U.S.
 and European use in 1991); Quilimmune-P(TM), for prevention of pneumococcal
 infections in the elderly; and Quilimmune-M(TM), for preventing malaria. The
 company also licenses its immune enhancement technologies to pharmaceutical
 partners that include GlaxoSmithKline, Elan Corporation, plc, Aventis Pasteur,
 Wyeth Lederle, VaxGen, Bristol-Myers Squibb (Progenics Pharmaceuticals), Korea
 Green Cross Corporation and Virbac S.A. For more information about the company
 visit http://www.antigenics.com.
 
     This press release contains forward-looking statements. These include
 statements about the development malaria vaccine and the potential commercial
 success of QS-21adjuvant.  Several risks and uncertainties could cause actual
 results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking
 statements.  These factors include the ability to satisfy regulatory
 requirements, the outcome of clinical trials, the efficacy of products that
 are commercialized, the ability to convince the medical community to adopt
 products, competition from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the
 strength of intellectual property rights, the ability to raise capital and the
 risk factors included in the Antigenics SEC filings.
 
 SOURCE  Antigenics Inc.