Case Study

Circassia

The Commercial Issue

Circassia is a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of allergy using novel synthetic peptide immuno-regulatory epitopes (SPIREs).  In the early stages of the company’s development, Circassia needed to broaden and diversify its patent portfolio to support its business plan and underpin investment.

How We Helped

We have been involved with Circassia since the very early stages of the company.  We helped the company to develop its patent portfolio by taking a strategic approach, following a clear plan of seeking to maximise coverage for Circassia's lead products with multiple, overlapping layers of protection.  This was achieved by not only filing patent applications directed specifically to Circassia’s lead allergy products, but also to cover broader concepts relating to Circassia's general approach to allergy treatment and related concepts such as diagnosis and the treatment of autoimmunity.  As the portfolio matured, we helped Circassia to diversify its scope, taking advantage of divisional and/or continuation applications where appropriate to protect additional aspects of interest.  Later applications were also filed, typically directed to preferred formulations of the lead products.  We continue to handle the prosecution and maintenance of Circassia's entire patent portfolio and advise on overall strategy and new patenting opportunities as they arise.  We provide advice regarding freedom to operate, and on the acquisition and licensing of third party patents and applications when required.  We also handle Circassia's trade mark portfolio.

The Outcome

Circassia's patent portfolio has been a key component in making the company attractive to investors.  The strength of Circassia's patent portfolio has been viewed as particularly important, supporting the company’s oversubscribed second funding round in January 2008 that resulted in £11 million of investment.  Similarly investment rounds raised £15 million in December 2009 and £60 million in April 2011.  The company’s March 2014 flotation raised a further £200 million when it listed in London with the UK’s largest biotech IPO fundraising ever. 

The strength of Circassia's patent portfolio remains central to the company’s business as its lead products approach the market and it continues to develop new targets.  Its products include a cat allergy therapy, (Cat-SPIRE), a house dust mite allergy treatment (HDM-SPIRE), a ragweed allergy therapeutic (Ragweed-SPIRE) and a grass allergy treatment (Grass-SPIRE). The company continues to develop a broader portfolio of innovative allergy therapies.  

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