THE WOODLANDS, Texas--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Opexa Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPXA), a biotechnology company developing Tcelna®, a novel T-cell immunotherapy for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), is pleased to announce that Tcelna has been featured in a FOX Atlanta Channel 5 Newscast titled “New Therapy Could Battle Autoimmune Diseases.” The story by FOX Medical Team reporter Beth Galvin highlights Opexa’s ongoing Phase IIb clinical trial in secondary progressive MS and provides an interview with Dr. Ben Thrower, the Medical Director at the Multiple Sclerosis Institute at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and one of the principal investigators in Opexa's Abili-T clinical trial.
“The MS Institute at Shepherd Center in Atlanta is an important site in our Phase IIb clinical trial”
The story can be accessed at http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/23138444/new-therapy-could and from Opexa’s website.
“Tcelna offers hope to many individuals suffering from MS,” commented Dr. Thrower. “We are currently enrolling patients in the Phase IIb clinical trial at our facility and maintain hope that Tcelna could become a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of MS. The therapy acts to restore the function of the body’s immune system to enable the body to fight the disease directly. Since the therapy uses the patient’s own T-cells, the risk of complication is low. Importantly, Tcelna is being developed for secondary progressive MS, as currently, there are limited treatment options for patients with this form of MS.”
"The MS Institute at Shepherd Center in Atlanta is an important site in our Phase IIb clinical trial,” commented Neil K. Warma, President and Chief Executive Officer of Opexa. “We appreciate the significant effort of Dr. Thrower and his team and their commitment to the MS community. The Abili-T trial is progressing well and we have over 30 sites in the United States and Canada committed to the ongoing enrollment of patients with secondary progressive MS. In addition, we are encouraged with the coverage by FOX News of the potential our T-cell therapy has to effectively treat MS and address a community with a great unmet need, as well as to make a real difference in the lives of the patients."
Opexa’s mission is to lead the field of Precision Immunotherapy™ by aligning the interests of patients, employees and shareholders. The Company’s leading therapy candidate, Tcelna®, is a personalized T-cell immunotherapy that is in a Phase IIb clinical development program (the Abili-T trial) for the treatment of Secondary Progressive MS. Tcelna is derived from T-cells isolated from the patient’s peripheral blood, expanded ex vivo, and reintroduced into the patients via subcutaneous injections. This process triggers a potent immune response against specific subsets of autoreactive T-cells known to attack myelin.
About Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
MS is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central nervous system and is the most common, non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that approximately two million people have MS worldwide.
While symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms of MS include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination. The relapsing forms of MS are the most common. The Secondary Progressive form of MS represents about a third of the MS patient population.
Tcelna® is a potential personalized therapy that is under development to be specifically tailored to each patient's disease profile. Tcelna is manufactured using ImmPath™, Opexa's proprietary method for the production of a patient-specific T-cell immunotherapy, which encompasses the collection of blood from the MS patient, isolation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, generation of an autologous pool of myelin-reactive T-cells (MRTCs) raised against selected peptides from myelin basic protein (MBP), myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) and proteolipid protein (PLP), and the return of these expanded, irradiated T-cells back to the patient. These attenuated T-cells are reintroduced into the patient via subcutaneous injection to trigger a therapeutic immune system response.
Opexa is currently conducting a Phase IIb study of Tcelna. Named “Abili-T,” the trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study in patients who demonstrate evidence of disease progression with or without associated relapses. The trial is expected to enroll 180 patients at approximately 30 leading clinical sites in the U.S. and Canada with each patient receiving two annual courses of Tcelna treatment consisting of five subcutaneous injections per year. The trial’s primary efficacy outcome is the percentage of brain volume change (atrophy) at 24 months. Study investigators will also measure several important secondary outcomes commonly associated with MS, including disease progression as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), annualized relapse rate and changes in disability as measured by EDSS and the MS Functional Composite.
For more information visit the Opexa Therapeutics website at www.opexatherapeutics.com.
Cautionary Statement Relating to Forward-Looking Information for the Purpose of "Safe Harbor" Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
This press release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements contained in this release, other than statements of historical fact, constitute "forward-looking statements." The words "expects," "believes," "anticipates," "estimates," "may," "could," "intends," “offers,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Investors are cautioned that statements in this report which are not strictly historical statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding the development of the Company's product candidate, Tcelna (imilecleucel-T), constitute forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks associated with: market conditions; our capital position; our ability to compete with larger, better financed pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; new approaches to the treatment of our targeted diseases; our expectation of incurring continued losses; our uncertainty of developing a marketable product; our ability to raise additional capital to continue our development programs (including to undertake and complete any ongoing or further clinical studies for Tcelna), including in this regard our ability to satisfy various conditions required to access the financing potentially available under the purchase agreements with Lincoln Park Capital Fund, LLC (“Lincoln Park”) (such as the minimum closing price for our common stock and the requirement for an ongoing trading market for our stock); our ability to raise additional capital through the sale of shares of our common stock under the purchase agreements with Lincoln Park or under our at-the-market (ATM) facility; our ability to maintain compliance with NASDAQ listing standards; the success of our clinical trials (including the Phase IIb trial for Tcelna in secondary progressive MS which, depending upon results, may determine whether Ares Trading SA (“Merck”) elects to exercise its option for an exclusive license to Tcelna for the treatment of MS (the “Option”)); whether Merck exercises its Option and, if so, whether we receive any development or commercialization milestone payments or royalties from Merck pursuant to the Option; our dependence (if Merck exercises its Option) on the resources and abilities of Merck for the further development of Tcelna; the efficacy of Tcelna for any particular indication, such as for relapsing remitting MS or secondary progressive MS; our ability to develop and commercialize products; our ability to obtain required regulatory approvals; our compliance with all Food and Drug Administration regulations; our ability to obtain, maintain and protect intellectual property rights (including for Tcelna); the risk of litigation regarding our intellectual property rights or the rights of third parties; the success of third party development and commercialization efforts with respect to products covered by intellectual property rights that we may license or transfer; our limited manufacturing capabilities; our dependence on third-party manufacturers; our ability to hire and retain skilled personnel; our volatile stock price; and other risks detailed in our filings with the SEC. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made. We assume no obligation or undertaking to update any forward-looking statements to reflect any changes in expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. You should, however, review additional disclosures we make in our Annual Reports on Form 10 K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and Current Reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC.