With their Chikungunya fever vaccine candidate demonstrating good immunogenicity, safety and tolerability in a Phase 1 clinical trial (Results published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, March 2015), Themis plans to progress this lead product candidate into clinical phase II trials. In parallel the company will advance its other promising development pipeline in collaboration with the Institut Pasteur in Paris, originators of the measles vector platform licensed to Themis.
Themis also announced the new structure of its Board with Dr Gerd Zettlmeissl being named Chairman of the Board. Dr Zettlmeissl spent more than 20 years in executive positions in the international pharmaceutical and vaccine biotech industry. From 2005 until May 2011 he served as CEO of Intercell AG. Experienced biotech and vaccine industry expert Dr Jean-Paul Prieels will join as a new member the expanded board. He served as Senior Vice President of R&D at GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals until January 2011, led GSK's global vaccine R&D development activities and was Head of Research for GSK Vaccines.
Dr Erich Tauber, CEO of Themis stated: "With the new funds, we are planning to move our Chikungunya vaccine candidate quickly into a Phase 2 clinical trial and also achieve important milestones for the other vaccine candidates in our preclinical development pipeline. We are very pleased to have Wellington Partners leading this financing round and I would like to welcome Dr Regina Hodits and Dr Jean-Paul Prieels to the Board. I am sure that Themis will profit from their scientific and industrial expertise in supporting our goals to establish new partnerships within the pharmaceutical industry and to drive our product pipeline towards commercialisation."
Dr Regina Hodits, General Partner at Wellington Partners, commented: "With global warming and increased travel activities, tropical diseases like Chikungunya, Dengue fever, and other viral diseases are becoming a serious threat to global health. Based on a proven measles vaccine platform, Themis' portfolio of vaccine candidates represent an attractive investment opportunity for Wellington, and they have the potential to address urgent unmet medical needs."
In 2011, Themis raised EUR 5 Million in a series A financing following a seed financing round from Austria Wirtschaftsservice (AWS) in 2009, and other substantial financial contributions from Austrian national funding agencies like FFG and Inits.