Anergis (Switzerland)

Anergis is a Lausanne-based company specialising in the discovery and development of novel allergy vaccines targeting the most frequent allergies. Based on its proprietary Contiguous Overlapping Peptides (“COPs”) technology, Anergis is developing innovative desensitisation products that reproduce the full amino acid sequence of the allergen in separate long peptidic molecules. Anergis’ compounds do not cross-react with IgE, the antibody class responsible for allergic hypersensitivity and can therefore be safely administered at high doses to induce tolerance to the allergen after only a few injections, a distinct advantage compared to existing 3-5 year desensitisation treatments. Studies of Anergis’ compounds targeting bee venom and birch pollen allergies in both animals and humans have demonstrated excellent safety and immunogenicity. For more information, see

Atox Bio (Israel/US)

Atox Bio develops therapeutics for diseases mediated by a deregulated inflammatory response. Atox Bio focuses on novel modulators of the immune response that target key multiple and interrelated pathways of both the adaptive and innate immune response that play critical roles in infectious and inflammatory diseases as well as ischemia/reperfusion injuries. AB103, Atox Bio’s lead clinical candidate, is being developed for severe bacterial infections including necrotizing soft tissue, intra-abdominal infections and acute kidney injury. For more information, visit

Cara Therapeutics (US)

Cara is a Connecticut-based company developing novel itch, pain and inflammation therapeutics. Its lead drug, CR845, is a highly selective, peripherally restricted kappa opioid receptor agonist currently in Phase 3 clinical development for uremic pruritus and postoperative pain. For more information, visit

Haemostatix (UK)

Haemostats are used by surgeons to manage problematic bleeding and to reduce time in the operating theatre during surgery. The products are applied in the form of sprays, gels or pads, and typically contain the enzyme thrombin, which promotes blood clotting, as the active ingredient. Haemostatix has developed a completely new class of haemostat based on a peptide that binds to the blood clotting protein, fibrinogen, instantly forming a clot. Haemostatix raised 3 rounds of financing in 2010 and 2011, in which Esperante participated, to advance the development of its lead haemostat product, Peprostat, which is currently in preclinical development. For more information, visit

Karus (UK)

Karus is developing a new family of highly potent, well-tolerated, optimised HDAC inhibitors (OS-HDI) thought to be the most potent histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors known with a distinctively prolonged pharmacodynamic effect. Karus has two development programs, one in cancer and one in psoriasis and has initiated further programs in other disease areas, including rheumatoid arthritis and organ transplant rejection. For more information, visit