AFFiRiS AG's Atherosclerosis Vaccine Development Receives EU Support

June 12, 2009

The atherosclerosis vaccine development program by AFFiRiS AG (Vienna, Austria) is receiving financial support from the EU?s EuroTrans-Bio call.

The atherosclerosis vaccine development program by AFFiRiS AG (Vienna, Austria) is receiving financial support from the EU’s EuroTrans-Bio call. The project—known as CETP Vaccine (ETB-2008-28)—is based on the Affitome technology of AFFiRiS AG and is being conducted together with EMC microcollections GmbH from Tubingen, Germany.

One of the primary causes of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, a narrowing of key arteries caused by fatty deposits. Although there are options for medication-based intervention in the form of statins, these are deemed to be of limited effectiveness despite some notable successes. The aim of atherosclerosis vaccination is to increase the amount of “good” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLc) in the blood and thus reduce the occurrence of harmful fatty deposits in the arteries.

Product candidates were delivered by AFFiRiS’s Affitome platform technology. The target is a protein known as CETP (cholesteryl ester transfer protein). The main item of the joint efforts of AFFiRiS and EMC is the vaccination against CETP. By transferring cholesteryl ester from HDLc to LDLc and VLDLc, this protein reduces “good” HDL and has a detrimental impact on the ratio of LDLc to HDLc.

The CETP Vaccine project is scheduled to last 30 months and will culminate in Phase 1 clinical trials. Overall, the support provided to the project by the EU is worth several hundred thousand euros, while the two project partners are bearing around half of the total costs.