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The development of a novel Alzheimer vaccine is at the centre of the EU-project MimoVax, which is coordinated by the Viennese company AFFiRiS GmbH. The consortium will invest 2 M€ and receive 2.4 M€ funding by the EC. Within the next 3 years these funds will be used to apply the proprietary Mimotope technology of AFFiRiS in order to develop a novel vaccination strategy to tackle Alzheimer’s disease. MimoVax is characterised by high participation of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME), and an innovative approach coupled with a clear concept for application. This project therefore received outstanding marks in the highly competitive last call for applications of FP6.
With 12 M cases worldwide Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, whose progress can not be prevented by any treatment. The concomitant symptoms including confusion and loss of orientation affect patients increasingly until they become entirely dependent on care, which is associated with mounting costs. With an aging population in developed countries the impact of AD is predicted to increase.
The STREP MimoVax promises to address AD directly and such tackle all associated societal problems. Under the leadership of AFFiRiS partners from Austria, Germany and Spain joined forces for a project, which was submitted to the last call for proposals of the framework programme 6 (FP6). Despite this highly competitive call MimoVax received an outstanding evaluation and secured 2.4 M€ funding by the EC. The 5 SME partners will invest an additional 2.0 M€ themselves, which provides strong evidence for their commitment to the success of this endeavour.
The crucial technology for MIMOVAX is provided by AFFiRiS GmbH, a Vienna based Biotech Company. On the basis of the proprietary Mimotope technology this company successfully develops innovative vaccines against AD and other diseases.
In the mean time the coordinator Dr. Mattner (AFFiRiS) was eager to initiate the project, as the novel AD vaccine should complete all the pre-clinical tests and phase 1 of the clinical trial within 3 years. Therefore, two weeks after the official start of the project on October 1 the participants met in Vienna to discuss their way forward in detail.
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the deposition of BA into plaques within the brain of patients. Main constituent of BA are protein fragments of 40-42 amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. The first AD vaccine developed by AFFiRiS is directed against all forms of BA and can successfully reduce plaques in a mouse model.
MimoVax aims at rare forms of BA, which contains a mixture of chemically modified forms. Some distinct forms might have particularly damaging activities and therefore serve as useful targets for vaccination. Within MimoVax, suitable technology is applied to induce a targeted immune response against single species of BA.
Vaccination initiates a response of the immune system against certain compounds and such promotes their neutralisation. MimoVax will therefore mobilise the patients own defences against BA without damaging side effects. Chemically distinct forms of BA are formed, when they come off the surface of cells within the brain. Similar to a broken bottle, where some shards are sharper than others, some forms of BA might be more dangerous. Research so far has neglected the variation between the different forms of BA. With the Mimotope technology, AFFiRiS has developed a technology, which can target individual forms of BA with particularly damaging potential.
MimoVax – Alzheimer’s vaccine – is a specific targeted research project (STREP) for development and optimisation of a first treatment to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This project aims at developing a vaccine against modified forms of Beta Amyloid (BA). The immune system of AD patients will be activated to attack and remove BA and such fight the cause of the disease directly. In addition new diagnostic methods will be developed in order to monitor treatment efficacy.
MimoVax is coordinated by AFFiRiS GmbH, Vienna, and will spend 4.4 M€ within three years, 2.0 of which are contributed by the participating SMEs and 2.4 M€ by the EC.
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