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2010 News Archive

September 16, 2010

Budapest, Hungary, and Zug, Switzerland (September 16, 2010) – ImmunoGenes reports today that research programs with its proprietary FcRn platform have demonstrated the generation of high levels of specific and high affinity antibodies against a highly conserved influenza epitope (membrane proximal end of the HA2), recently reported in Science: 324:246, 2009. Repeated experiments in mice that are transgenic to over-express FcRn, a receptor that has been reported to enhance the presentation of antigens and prevent degradation of immunoglobulins, showed a strong immune response when exposed to a synthetic oligopeptide that mimics this epitope. Whereas wild-type mice showed a weak immune response and developed only a de minimis amount of antibody against the epitope, FcRn over-expressing animals mounted a robust reaction expressed in specific antibody titers on day 28 which continued to rise through day 50 (yielding titers more than 13-fold higher in FcRn transgenic mice than in their wild type counterparts). Consistent with previous data reported by ImmunoGenes’ scientists, the enhanced immune response resulting from the FcRn overexpression was also associated with a substantial increase in the number of spleen derived B cells expressing specific antibodies.

“These data impressively confirm the value of the FcRn transgenic platform as a means to generate antibodies against antigens that are weakly immunogenic. The technology is valuable for the polyclonal antibody segment as well as for the monoclonal antibody segment and demonstrates, beyond the quantitative aspects of increasing yields, a qualitative option to target epitopes that could previously not be addressed with standard antibody techniques” said Prof Dr Imre Kacskovics, Founder and CEO of ImmunoGenes.

“These experiments indicate that ImmunoGenes’ technology has the potential to be extremely valuable in the search for unique antibodies for therapeutic, diagnostic and research applications. In particular, the benefit that the company’s technology offers in identifying a larger pool of unique, activated B-cells upon antigenic challenge increases the probability of identifying the right clone for monoclonal antibody production” said Lee Schalop, Head of Business Development of ImmunoGenes.

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April 21, 2010

Budapest, Hungary, and Zug, Switzerland (April 21, 2010) – ImmunoGenes AG announced today the launch of its FcRn platform licensing program, providing its partners with the ability to dramatically increase commercial production of polyclonal antibodies. The announcement follows the signing of agreements with leading companies and institutions in this field.

The company’s proprietary FcRn technology has demonstrated the ability to substantially increase (3-10 fold as compared to wild type) the yield of polyclonal antibodies in response to various immunizations. The overexpression of FcRn in the company’s genetically modified animals not only rescues the antigen-specific IgG at a higher level, but also enhances the expansion of antigen-specific B cells in the secondary lymphoid organs. These two effects, acting synergistically, lead to a major endogenous boost of the antigen-specific antibody response in these animals. The technology has also resulted in increased antibody harvest rates and shorter times-to-harvest without loss of antibody quality or concerns about animal health. The company has previously generated and published some of these results in mice, and recent experiments in rabbits show the same pattern of IgG protection. The company expects to complete and publish these additional studies in the near future. The company recently initiated a collaboration with The Roslin Institute to utilize the same FcRn technology in sheep. In addition, the company has completed agreements with major private companies that remain undisclosed that target other mammals with the capability to provide large quantities of polyclonal antibodies for a variety of medical purposes.

"It is promising to see the polyclonal antibody space exploring smart immunology concepts such as FcRn over-expression to overcome the challenges of providing sufficient quantities and qualities for medical use" said Dr. John E. Butler, Professor at Department of Microbiology, The University of Iowa an expert in immunoglobulin genes and functions.

"ImmunoGenes is confident that its FcRn technology will make an entry into all major mammalian systems that are suitable for polyclonal antibody production, and we are delighted to see a rapid uptake of interest in the market by companies who are poised to emerge as the major players in this field," said Wolfgang Oster, Chairman of ImmunoGenes.

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February 12, 2010

Budapest, Hungary, and Zug, Switzerland (February 12, 2010) – ImmunoGenes AG announces today that Imre Kacskovics, one of its principle scientific founders has been awarded with the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) Price for Innovation (Innovative Researcher of ELTE in 2010). Established by the Rector Prof Ferenc Hudecz in 2009, ELTE gives this price to one of its scientists for outstanding contributions to ELTE's innovation initiatives in technology, natural science or informatics.

"It is rare that one can witness the convergence of astute scientific skills, impeccable character and solid business judgment in one person. It is the dream-come-true situation for the investors in new technologies and start-up companies. Imre is one of those who meet the specs of this rare species of entrepreneurs who never let their finger get off the pulse of Science, but also have the ability to transition the scientific promise into a business dimension. It is rewarding to see Prof Kacskovics being recognized by his alma mater, the Eötvös Loránd University for his courage to improve medical practice with his leading research and expose it to the scrutiny of competitive global business leaders" said Wolfgang Oster, MD PhD, Chairman of ImmunoGenes and Managing Partner at Polytechnos Venture Partners.

"I am delighted and privileged to see one of the leading Biotech companies in Hungary emerge from ELTE's entrepreneurial efforts and it is truly exciting having witnessed the progress of this company in such short order. ImmunoGenes has climbed up the ranks of promising start-ups and is on par with its international competitors," said Györgyi Antoni, Director of the Funding and Innovation Center at ELTE.

"ELTE is committed to the support of entrepreneurial activities emerging from our leading scientific programs. We firmly believe that commercial valuations finally have become part of the overall appreciation of innovative academic concepts and we are delighted that our faculty member Imre Kacskovics has so impressively demonstrated how to transform science into medical practice and to enrich the armamentarium of physicians to better serve patients in need. We have proudly rewarded Prof Kacskovics with the highest price ELTE gives to acknowledge entrepreneurial innovation", said Prof Ferenc Hudecz, Rector of ELTE.

About ELTE:

Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), the longest continuously serving university of Hungary, was founded in 1635 in the city of Nagyszombat (today Trnava, Slovakia) by Cardinal Péter Pázmány, Archbishop of Esztergom. It serves the interests of high quality education and research, building upon the best European traditions. The mission of ELTE is to preserve and enrich national and universal culture, to cultivate science and to pass on academic knowledge, as well as to shape and satisfy the real, long-term needs of Hungarian society and of mankind. ELTE aims to educate intellectuals with up-to-date knowledge and versatile culture. Motivated by the conviction that a high standard of teaching at a university is inconceivable without high-quality research, ELTE aims to represent both sides of the traditional concept of a universitas, and at a high level: the creative community of instructors and students (universitas magistrorum et discipulorum) and the ideal of an institution actively engaged in the pursuit of many scientific and scholarly disciplines (universitas scientiarum). The leadership, instructors, researchers, students and all the other members of ELTE support the realization of these aims through mutual cooperation.

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