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Circassia's Rapid Grass Allergy Treatment Achieves Significant Symptom Reduction During Hay Fever Season

OXFORD, England, October 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Circassia Ltd, a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on developing world-class immunotherapies, today announced successful results from a large phase II clinical study of its ToleroMune® grass allergy treatment (Grass-Synthetic Peptide Immuno-Regulatory Epitope [Grass-SPIRE]).  Patients who received a short course of treatment before the pollen season had significantly improved allergy symptoms at the end of the season, compared with those on placebo. The Grass-SPIRE treatment was extremely well tolerated.  

"We are delighted with the excellent outcome in this clinical study, as this is now the fourth of our short-course SPIRE allergy treatments to achieve a statistically significant result in large phase IIb studies," said Steve Harris, Circassia's Chief Executive.  "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."

The double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study included 280 grass allergy sufferers.  During the trial, which was conducted in Kingston, Canada, subjects recorded their allergy symptoms while exposed to grass pollen in a controlled environmental unit, both before treatment and at the end of the hay fever season.  Study participants received one of three treatment regimens over three months, which were completed prior to the beginning of the pollen season.  Those who received the optimal short course of SPIRE therapy had significantly improved symptoms at the end of the season compared with those on placebo (p<0.05).  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.

About grass allergy

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.

About ToleroMune® technology

Circassia is developing a range of allergy treatments based on its novel, proprietary ToleroMune® technology.  This uses rationally-designed molecules identified from common allergens (Synthetic Peptide Immuno-Regulatory Epitopes; SPIREs) to generate regulatory T cells to control allergic responses and induce immune tolerance.  Circassia has achieved successful phase II results with its cat, house dust mite, ragweed and grass allergy therapies, and its cat allergy treatment entered phase III testing in October 2012.  

Clinical results show that short, simple courses of SPIRE allergy treatments can greatly reduce patients' allergic responses and improve symptoms over long periods, while proving extremely well tolerated.  As a result, SPIRE treatments offer major potential clinical benefits compared with existing therapies, and have significant market opportunities.  More than 150 million people suffer from allergic rhinitis in the US and Europe, and the current treatment market is valued at approximately $12 billion per year.  

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.

Steve Harris    
Tel: +44(0)1865-405560

Rob Budge
RJB Communications
Tel: +44(0)1865-760969
Mobile: +44(0)7710-741241

SOURCE Circassia Ltd
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