Intercell AG

Strong alliance to fight fungal infections

» Intercell and its partner institutions are awarded an EU grant for targeting research and novel treatments of fungal infections » Intercell further strengthens its fungal franchise by supporting the new Christian Doppler Laboratory “PathoFUN” focusing on the research of fungal pathogens

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Wien (euro adhoc) - Vienna (Austria), April 21, 2008 - Intercell AG (VSE: ICLL) today announced that the joint project to develop protective treatments against fungal infections was awarded an EU-grant. Intercell is coordinating a European consortium of three academic and commercial partners within the "CanVac" project. The project aims at developing a vaccine and/or a monoclonal antibody-based therapy against infections caused by the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans.

CanVac was one of 41 selected projects among 125 applications submitted for the first two EuroTransBio transnational calls of the European Commission and is eligible to receive funds of EUR 1.5 m. The project is scheduled to run for three years and builds on the expertise of leading scientists and biotech companies in Austria and Germany.

Together with the Christian Doppler Research Association (CDG), Intercell AG is also supporting the newly established Christian Doppler Laboratory (CDL) in Infection Biology "PathoFUN". PathoFUN is located at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, Campus Vienna Biocenter. The CDL is headed by the renowned expert in fungal pathogenesis, Prof. Karl Kuchler. PathoFunwill focus on genomic approaches to understand fungal virulence and on developing vaccines and/or monoclonal antibody-based therapies against infections caused by fungal pathogens such as Candida and Aspergillus species.

"Our dramatic progress in evolving our AIP technology (antigen identification program) has made it now possible to identify disease-relevant and protective antigens from much more complex pathogens than bacteria, such as fungi. Alongside with our outstanding partners in the EC consortium, and within the new Christian Doppler Laboratory on Infection Biology, I am confident that we have built an excellent franchise which will enable us to quickly find relevant targets leading to novel antibody treatments and vaccines in an arena where development of antifungal drugs only reluctantly move forward", states Alexander von Gabain, Intercell´s Chief Scientific Officer.

Importantly, antifungal treatments are often hampered by resistant strains, as well as by severe side effects while not being able to prevent recurrent infections in a significant number of patients. CanVac was initiated by Intercell AG and its partners to systematically identify antigens suitable for the development of monoclonal antibodies or vaccines. CanVac shall be applying expertise and technologies ranging from full genome sequencing and genome-wide antigen identification to infectious disease models suitable to evaluate candidate antigens.

At present, no approved vaccines exist to prevent Candidiasis or Aspergillosis in humans. Since antifungal drug resistance is emerging rapidly, mortality rates and the impairment in the quality of life of patients can only be overcome by new strategies to diagnose, prevent or treat severe systemic fungal disease. The establishment of the CDL will greatly support Intercell AG in its efforts to develop vaccines and monoclonal antibodies for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. The CDL will benefit from the network of academic and industrial partners at the Campus Vienna Biocenter, including the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, the CDL Proteomics and Intercell AG.

About Candidiasis

Candidiasis, also know as "yeast infection", is very common and usually happens when a weak immune system allows commensal Candida species to overgrow the normal body flora. Since no vaccines exist to prevent Candidiasis and antifungal drug resistances hamper therapy, new strategies are needed which allow broad protection or treatment in the global fight against this serious medical condition. C. albicans is normally a harmless commensal in most healthy people, but it can cause both non-severe infections and life-threatening systemic candidiasis with high mortality rates. In particular, Candida species are the leading cause of fungemias worldwide and account for one of the leading causes of nosocomial blood stream infections.

Partners of Intercell AG´s fungal franchise:

» Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Austria ( » GATC Biotech, Germany ( » Christian Doppler Gesellschaft ( » CDL at the Medical University of Vienna (

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ots Originaltext: Intercell AG
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Further inquiry note:
Intercell AG
Lucia Malfent
Head of Communications
Tel. +43 1 20620-303

Branche: Biotechnology
ISIN:      AT0000612601
WKN:        A0D8HW
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