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Circassia’s grass allergy treatment achieves significant symptom reduction during hay fever season

1 October 2013

Imperial Innovations Group plc

Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, “Innovations”), the leading technology commercialisation and investment group, announces that portfolio company Circassia, the specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on allergy, has achieved successful results from a large phase II clinical study of its grass allergy treatment.

Patients who received a short course of Circassia’s ToleroMune® grass allergy treatment before the pollen season had significantly improved allergy symptoms at the end of the season, compared with those on placebo.

The phase II clinical trial was conducted in Kingston, Canada, and included 280 grass allergy sufferers who received one of three treatment regimens over three months, prior to the beginning of the pollen season. Those who received the optimal short course had significantly improved symptoms at the end of the season compared with those on placebo. The treatment regimen was well tolerated, with a safety profile similar to placebo. Circassia plans to present the study results at a forthcoming leading scientific conference.

Grass allergy, commonly referred to as hay fever, is extremely prevalent. In Europe and the United States grasses are the most common cause of seasonal allergy, with approximately 15 – 25% of the population sensitised to pollen from different species. Grass allergy can debilitate sufferers during the months when pollen is released, resulting in poor concentration, reduced performance and workplace and school absences.

Other allergies for which Circassia is developing a treatment include cat, currently in phase III trials and house dust mite, currently in phase II trials.

Russ Cummings, CEO of Innovations, said:

“This trial has demonstrated the potential of Circassia’s allergy treatment platform to improve symptoms for seasonal allergies, in addition to those which affect patients all year-round. The broad range of applications for this platform demonstrates the value of the technology which is being developed within portfolio companies such as Circassia.”

Steve Harris, CEO of Circassia added:

“This is an excellent outcome for our clinical study – it is now the fourth of our short-course allergy treatments to achieve a statistically significant result in large phase IIb studies.

“In many countries, including the US and Europe, grass pollen is the most common cause of seasonal allergy. As a result, grass allergy is a major problem causing suffering for many millions of people each year and significant lost productivity. By dramatically improving patients’ symptoms after just a short course, our grass allergy therapy has the potential to transform the treatment of this highly prevalent immune disorder and improve sufferers’ quality of life.”


Imperial Innovations Group Plc

+44 (0)20 7594 6506

Russ Cummings, Chief Executive Officer

Terry Nicklin, Director of Communications

College Hill

+44 (0)20 7457 2020

Adrian Duffield/Tim Watson/Rozi Morris

J.P. Morgan Cazenove

+44 (0)20 7742 4000

Michael Wentworth Stanley/Alec Pratt

Notes to editors

About Circassia –

Circassia was founded by a team of highly experienced biotechnology scientists and entrepreneurs. The company is based in the UK on the Oxford Science Park, and its joint venture with McMaster University (Adiga Life Sciences Inc) is located in Hamilton, Canada. Circassia’s ToleroMune® technology was developed originally by scientists at Imperial College, London. Having successfully completed five fundraising rounds, Circassia has raised approximately £105 million ($178 million) and is backed by a syndicate of world-class institutional investors, including Imperial Innovations and Invesco Perpetual.

About Imperial Innovations -

Innovations creates, builds and invests in pioneering university technologies addressing global problems in healthcare, energy, engineering and the environment. It combines deep understanding of science and technology with commercial acumen and strong investment expertise. Innovations acts as the Technology Transfer office for Imperial College, providing IP protection, licensing and business-building services, giving it very early access to research outputs from this leading research university.

Innovations invests in companies based on technologies from or associated with four universities: Imperial College London, Cambridge University, Oxford University, and UCL, supported by collaborations with Cambridge Enterprise, OSEM and UCL Business. These are the UK’s leading research intensive universities, measured by research income.

Innovations supports scientist-entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas by:

· leading the formation of new companies and providing facilities in the early stages

· providing significant investment and encouraging co-investment to accelerate the transition from R&D to products

· providing operational expertise

helping to recruit high-calibre industry figures and experienced entrepreneurs as executive management and Board members

Innovations raised £140 million in January 2011. In the year to 31 July 2012, it invested £37.9 million (2011: £35.1 million) in 29 ventures, and made 11 investments in new companies. In July 2013, Innovations obtained a £30m, 12-year loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to invest in the biotech and therapeutics sectors.

In its current portfolio of around 80 companies, Innovations’ assets include Veryan, a medical devices business developing improved stent technologies and Acunu, a Cambridge-associated business specialising in ‘big data’, with technology that enables its customers to create large, quickly accessible databases using low cost hardware.

Publisher Contact Information:

Imperial College Innovations Limited
+44 (0)20 7594 6506

Company profile of Touchstone Innovations (formerly Imperial Innovations)
Past press releases of Touchstone Innovations (formerly Imperial Innovations).


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