Professor Pleass' project deals with the development of Hexagard™, a biomimetic to replace intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy for treating autoimmune diseases.
The winner of the prize was announced during the Innovation Days 2013, which are designed to promote early-stage innovation biotech and to enable pharmaceutical companies and investors in their business development & licensing efforts to source new platform technologies and innovative products. The conference deals with new issues in the health industry, innovation strategies, drug safety dilemma, customer relationship management or new tools of medical and scientific communication.
The Innovation Days, organised by the Universal Medica Group, are taking place until 9 October 2013 in Cité Universitaire Internationale, Paris, France.
Autoimmune diseases affect 9 million UK citizens alone although their public health importance is accelerating most rapidly in developing countries where IVIG is unaffordable to the great majority. There is therefore an urgent clinical need to develop cheaper, safer, and more effective alternatives to IVIG which is currently prepared from donated human plasma.
Professor Pleass and his team took a quality-by-design approach to Hexagard™ which is approximately 50 fold more effective than IVIG. He said: "Winning the Innovation Prize is a huge vote of confidence in Hexaguard™ as a treatment for auto-immune disease, such as Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). We will continue to develop this molecule at LSTM and are looking forward to finding partners to take this exciting new drug into commercial production."
On presenting the award to Professor Pleass, Jean Derégnaucourt of the Innovation Days Jury, said that the decision had been unanimous and that Hexagard™, had the nine S's: small, stable, safe, synthesizable; scalable, suitable, superior, serviceable and saleable.
Professor Mark Taylor, Head of Parasitology at LSTM said: "The advantage of winning this award is not the only the industry recognition of being selected by such a prestigious panel, but it also provides partnership with industry to develop a translational strategy to get Hexagard™ to the patients that would benefit most."
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Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) has been engaged in the fight against infectious, debilitating and disabling diseases since 1898 and continues that tradition today with a research portfolio in excess of well over £200 million and a teaching programme attracting students from over 65 countries.
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