Live event feed: Dr. Rod Hafner

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Dr. Rod Hafner is Senior Vice President of R&D at Circassia Ltd. where he has overall responsibility for Circassia's R&D portfolio. Since joining Circassia in 2007 Dr. Hafner has been responsible for the progression of Circassia's four lead programmes from epitope identification, through to the start of twelve phase II clinical studies. Following a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Cambridge University Dr. Hafner has spent more than 20 years in the life sciences industry, gained in both multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and is an Inventor on more than 20 granted patents and patent applications.

Blogged on behalf of Milana Shapira and Sophia Doll

Dr. Rod Hafner discussed the possibilities for allergy immunotherapy at the World Vaccine Congress Lyon. 

Allergies see the immune system overreact, creating a need to switch it off and bring it back to tolerance. Many patients are unsatisfied with common allergy treatments, such as antihistamines. Immunotherapy treatment options exist, where small doses of allergens are injected sub-cutaneously; however, these require a huge commitment as they can last from 3-5 years. 

Circassia is working on developing a short-course allergy immunotherapy to last three months. Their lead program is focused on cat allergies. They take a different approach to common immunotherapy treatments by using T cell epitopes and administrating it intradermally. 

Circassia has managed to take the program to phase III of clinical trial, and is hoping to bring the product to market. 

Their product aims to be safe and well tolerated, with no side reactions; the dose should be the same for everybody. In theory, this is made possible as the therapy utilises synthetic peptides. 

Clinical trials were run in chambers where individuals were exposed to cat allergen over four consecutive days, for three hours each time. The symptoms were self-reported by individuals, which differs from traditional trials. Results showed that with repeated allergen exposure treatment improved. 

Overall, safety data is looking clean, according to Hafner, with treatment persisting a year, and perhaps longer…


The presentations from the event will be made available from the 1st November.

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