Immunicum's CSO Alex Karlsson-Parra awarded the Athena Prize

Gothenburg, Sweden, 2014-11-26 08:30 CET (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Immunicum AB (publ) today announced that the company's founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Alex Karlsson-Parra, has been awarded the Athena Prize for his creative and innovative development of therapeutic cancer vaccines, which constitutes the core of Immunicum's business.

Dr. Alex Karlsson-Parra is Chief Scientific Officer at Immunicum and Chief Physician at Uppsala University Hospital. Together with his colleagues, he has devoted 15 years of research to the development of a therapeutic cancer vaccine, based on activation of the patient's own tumor-specific immune response by exposure to non-endogenous immune cells. Unlike other cancer vaccines that use the patient's own immune cells, this innovative concept implies the use of white blood cells from healthy blood donors. Immune cells are cultivated to dendritic cells that are activated by an immunological shock treatment. After activation, the cells are frozen into portions of 10 million cells, a proper dose to inject into a tumor.

One of the advantages of Immunicum's cancer vaccines is that the concept allows for large-scale production, thus facilitating access to treatment for more patients. The cancer vaccine has been tested in a pilot study in patients with metastatic renal cell cancer. The results are promising and show a prolonged median survival, but the patient population is still too small to allow reliable scientific conclusions. An additional study in patients with primary liver cancer is ongoing and a major European study will be initiated within short.

- Awarding Immunicum's founder Alex Karlsson-Parra with this prestigious prize for clinical development emphasizes the innovation height of the vaccine projects that we are developing to improve the treatment of severely ill cancer patients, says Immunicum's CEO Jamal El-Mosleh.

The prize, which consists of a research grant of 150 000 SEK, will be presented during the Swedish Society of Medicine's National Conference on Thursday 4 December.

The motivation from the Athena Prize Jury:

"A creative and innovative approach in the development of therapeutic cancer vaccines that activates the patient's immune system to attack the tumor cells. By using immune cells from healthy donors, instead of from the patient himself, the method may give more severely ill cancer patients access to effective treatment. A thorough, persistent and challenging research work that stands on the verge of a major breakthrough. "

Media representatives are welcome to attend the award ceremony, taking place at 19.00 at the Swedish Society of Medicine's premises on Klara Östra Kyrkogata 10 in Stockholm. Preregistration is made to Maja Florin, Project Manager of Athena Prize (maja.florin@dagensmedicin.se).

For further information, please contact:

Jamal El-Mosleh, CEO, Immunicum

Phone:  +46 31- 41 50 52,
jamal.el-mosleh@immunicum.com

 

Alex Karlsson-Parra, CSO, Immunicum

Phone: +46705-167579

Alex.karlsson-parra@immunicum.com

 

Johanna Adami, VINNOVA, Chairman of the Athena Prize Jury

Phone: +46 70-569 72 87

 

The Company's Certified Adviser is Redeye AB

Phone: +46 8-545 013 31. www.redeye.se

About the Athena Prize

The principals of the Athena Prize are VINNOVA, the Swedish Research Council, Forte, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, LIF, Sweden Bio, Swedish Medtech and Dagens Medicin. The purpose of the prize is to recognize and reward major achievements in clinical research in Sweden. The jury's assessment criteria are medical benefits, level of innovation, urgency, scientific quality, social benefit and interaction between healthcare, academia and industry.

Om Immunicum AB (publ)

Immunicum AB (publ) develops vaccines for the treatment of tumor diseases. The company's most advanced project INTUVAX® is currently evaluated in a clinical phase I/II trial in patients with renal cancer. The project portfolio contains three further projects against various cancers, including liver cancer.

www.immunicum.se