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Pevion Launches New Immune Enhancement Platform Called Defensomes

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ITTIGEN, Switzerland, November 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

- Patent already granted in Europe -

Pevion Biotech AG today announced the launch of a new program called Defensomes, a platform for broad spectrum immune enhancement via mechanisms of innate immunity. The proprietary technology is derived from a vaccine platform with a solid safety track record comprising more than 80 million doses applied to humans to date. Defensomes  offer opportunities for a wide range of prophylactic and therapeutic indications, where boosting of the body's own natural defense is beneficial.

"Ways of stimulating the body's own natural defense in a broad manner is not new," says Pevion CEO Evert Kueppers, "however, you need to have a technology capable of doing it in a smart and gentle way. More importantly, you need the safety on your side. That's why Defensomes are particularly well suited for this task."

Defensomes are influenza virus-like particles (VLP) that are produced by a commercially validated in vitro process. They act as a subtle activator of innate immunity. This is characterized by a protective effect within a few hours after application, as opposed to adaptive-immunity addressing vaccines, that need a few weeks to develop full protection. Triggering an innate response can be useful in providing immediate and broad protection in situations where people are at elevated risk of infection, either due to increased exposure or susceptibility, such as hospital admission, travel, or during the cold season. An innate response may also exert a helper function to an adaptive immune response induced by natural infection or vaccination. Here, Defensomes support and enhance long-term protection. Innate immunity only recently has become subject to more intense research, thereby providing the insights required for a solid pharmaceutical product development.

Defensomesare fully protected by two patent families, owned and controlled by Pevion, covering both process and field of application. Granting has occurred for Europe and Russia, while applications for other territories are pending.

"Defensomes are a prime example of research serendipity," comments Christian Moser, Head of Research at Pevion. "The Company develops specific vaccines based on its proprietary virus-like particle (VLP) technology called virosomes. Screening or preclinical experiments done over the years included negative control groups, namely the basic particles without any specific antigen(s) for the respective target indication. Once we noticed the Defensome effect in different bacterial and viral challenge models, and even in a tumor model, we successfully patented the application."

About Virosomes

Virosomes are a regulatory and market-approved vaccine technology that fulfills carrier and adjuvant functions in one. Essentially, virosomes are empty influenza virus envelopes, which are assembled in vitro and devoid of the genetic material of the source virus. As such, virosomes do not replicate and are therefore an ideal combination of carrier plus adjuvant for almost any given subunit antigen, including peptide or protein-derived antigens. The technology enables the use of poorly immunogenic antigens and thereby provides access to new indications and markets. Two virosome-based vaccines (Epaxal® and Inflexal® V, marketed by Crucell Switzerland AG) are licensed in over 40 countries, and more than 80 million doses of these vaccines have been commercially distributed, thereby providing a solid safety and efficacy track record. Pevion has developed and owns the second generation of virosomes, which have an excellent stability profile through lyophilization and allow alternative product formulations and innovative routes of application.

About Pevion Biotech AG

Pevion Biotech AG is a fully independent Swiss company that develops innovative immunotherapies and vaccines for unmet medical needs based on its clinically and commercially validated virosome technology. Its proprietary clinical pipeline includes a first-in-class immunotherapy of RVVC. A clinical stage malaria vaccine candidate has been successfully out-licensed, and the Company's technology has been out-licensed for use as an HIV vaccine, currently in human trials. Pevion has in-house development capability and expertise, including a state-of-the-art and industrially scalable GMP manufacturing process. Located near Bern, Pevion was established by two founding companies, Bachem AG (SWX: BANB) and Berna Biotech (now Crucell, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary). To date, Pevion has raised a total of CHF 45 million from its founders and investors, BZ Bank, Bachem, BB Biotech Ventures and private investors.

For more information, please visit http://www.pevion.com

For further information, please contact:

Julian Wagner, PhD, BBA, Business Development
Phone: +41-31-550-44-44, E-Mail : info@pevion.com

SOURCE Pevion Biotech AG



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