Apitope develops highly specific peptide therapeutics for multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases, and will now launch an IPO on Brussels Euronext.

Apitope hopes to treat a number of autoimmune diseases affecting many systems throughout the body. The company has developed peptides, ‘apitopes‘, that tackle the immunological basis of the disease. The company has just announced that it will launch an IPO on Brussels Euronext to progress the company’s pipeline through the clinic and hopefully into the market.

Apitope’s lead product targets multiple sclerosis and it has demonstrated that it can safely halt disease progression. Over 80 autoimmune diseases have been identified so far, some well-known, whereas others are rare and difficult to spot. Apitope hopes that its technology will give it the power to tackle both well-known and neglected autoimmune diseases that are desperately suffering from an unmet medical need.

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Apitopes treat autoimmune diseases early on during the inflammation to prevent as much damage to the body as possible. They naturally mimic epitopes — the part of the antigen that is recognized by the immune system – to restore the immune system’s tolerance. Its multiple sclerosis candidate, ATX-MS-1467, has completed a Phase IIa study, during which it significantly reduced the number of new or persisting brain lesions and showed a strong trend towards reduced disability.

How apitopes prevent an unnecessary immune response against ‘self’ antigens.

Current therapies tend to suppress the whole immune system, but apitopes only modulate the part of the immune system that is functioning abnormally. This means that many nasty side effects can be avoided, including increased risk of infection and cancer.

Earlier this year, Teva and Active Biotech’s multiple sclerosis candidate failed at Phase III, but the news that Roche’s candidate, Ocrevus, was approved by the FDA will have raised the spirits in the field. Elsewhere, BC platforms and Microsoft have joined forces to develop an online platform sharing a huge amount of genomic and clinical data. This data will be used to study the cases of multiple sclerosis, and Biogen and the Accelerated Cure Project are already keen to use the resource.

Fingers crossed that an effective treatment for such a devastating disease can be found. But, what is particularly exciting about Apitope’s technology is that it could be game-changing across the autoimmune disease field.


Images via Tatiana Shepeleva / Shutterstock; Apitope

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