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    Investors Bet Big on Vaccine Therapy for Celiac Disease

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      ImmusanT scores a $40M round for Phase II celiac vaccine study, as biotech veteran Tom Daniel joins the company board


    Photo: CC--University of Washington
    Caption: Photo: CC--University of Washington

    Celiac.com 12/22/2017 - Venture capital firms Arch Venture, and Vatera are betting big on biotech startup ImmusanT, the makers of potential celiac disease vaccine Nexvax2.

    Arch and Vatera have funded a $40 million B round that will support ImmusanT's development of their celiac treatment through Phase II testing. Full data are expected in mid-2019.



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    As part of it's efforts, Arch Venture partner and former head of research at Celgene, Tom Daniel, will join the board at ImmusanT. Additionally, renowned immunologist and Arch managing director Steven Gillis will also join the board at ImmusanT.

    Nexvax2 is the first prong in ImmusanT's efforts to develop a treatment that creates immune system tolerance to thwart autoimmune diseases. If they are successful in tackling celiac disease, the company is looking to expand the technology to include treatments for type 1 diabetes and other ailments.

    Celiac disease is a great place to start, says ImmusanT CEO Leslie Williams, because scientists already know the antigen that triggers the disease.

    Williams says that her company has scoured 17,000 peptides to "create a hierarchy of the key components that trigger the T cell response" in celiac disease. Nexvax2 is designed to work by slowly coaxing the immune system to ignore the trigger. Patients exposed to Nexvax2 react as if they have eaten gluten, says Williams. The goal is to harness that immune reactions and to modulate it.

    Williams is looking to double the size of the company's tiny 7-person staff as the ImmusanT journeys through a mid-stage trial.

    She will then look to an expanded set of programs as well as the data to determine the best direction for the company. Williams says that all options are currently open, including another funding round, an IPO or even a strategic deal.

    Read more at: endpts.com

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    This is really exciting! I hope this turns out. My husband has severe celiac disease and this will let him be able to eat the things he loves again. Thank you for sharing this information. It was well written and incredibly helpful!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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