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Pfizer invests $35 million in Anokion biotech

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Pfizer has made a $35 million equity investment in clinical-stage biotechnology company Anokion SA through the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative.

Anokion is focused on treating autoimmune disease by restoring normal immune tolerance.

Anokion will use a portion of the proceeds to fund its Phase 2 clinical program of KAN-101 for the treatment of celiac disease.

Data from Anokion’s Phase 1 ACeD study showed that treatment with KAN-101 was safe and tolerated, reduced T cell responses following gluten challenge and demonstrated a dose-dependent inhibition of gluten-induced serum IL-2 (interleukin-2).

This is key disease biomarker that may correlate with the timing and severity of symptoms after gluten exposure in celiac disease.

Anokion is now preparing to initiate patient dosing in a Phase 2 clinical trial in the second half of 2022, supported by Pfizer.

Anokion chief executive, Deborah Geraghty, Ph.D, said:

“We are excited about these agreements with Pfizer as they provide us with important resources and expertise to advance our KAN-101 clinical program and our earlier-stage pipeline.

“People living with autoimmune diseases like celiac disease need additional treatment options, and we are excited to work with Pfizer to potentially develop these utilizing our immune tolerance platform.

“We also look forward to leveraging Pfizer’s insights and capabilities in support of our Phase 2 clinical program in patients with celiac disease.”

In conjunction with the investment, Pfizer’s Michael Vincent, M.D., Ph.D. and Allison Kean, M.D have joined the scientific advisory board and board of directors, respectively.

Separately, Anokion and Pfizer have entered into an agreement to leverage Pfizer’s development expertise and capabilities in support of the continued clinical development of the KAN-101 candidate.

Dr Vincent said:

“We believe Anokion has a unique opportunity to develop potential durable and disease-modifying treatment options for people with celiac disease and other immune-mediated disorders, and we look forward to supporting them in the continued development of KAN-101.

“The agreements announced today are yet another example of our commitment to collaborating with biotechs to accelerate compelling external science that could lead to true breakthroughs for patients.”

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