ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwired - Sep 24, 2014) - The Matthew and Andrew Akin Foundation today announced that Novimmune will support its 2014 700 Miles to Hope bike ride as a sponsor. The Swiss biotech company has donated $25,000 to help find a cure for Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a rare and life-threatening immune system condition. Novimmune Chief Business Officer Adrian Mills will also join the 700 Miles to Hope team for a 700-mile bike journey taking place between October 4-10 to raise awareness for HLH and funding for a cure.

"We are proud to support this very worthy cause," said Novimmune CEO Jack Barbut. "HLH is one of the therapeutic areas in which we are actively involved. Our team is very conscious of the immense challenges faced by HLH patients and their families. As a result, it has created a strong personal and emotional commitment among everyone here not only to find a safe and effective treatment for this devastating childhood disease, but also to support these types of community-based efforts."

One of the largest biotech companies in Geneva, Novimmune is focused on the discovery and development of antibody-based drugs for the targeted treatment of immune-related disorders, inflammatory diseases and cancer. The company is currently developing an experimental drug for HLH in conjunction with several U.S. hospitals, including Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

"The 700 Miles to Hope team is honored to ride alongside Novimmune, the pioneering drug company in HLH research, in this year's journey from Natchez, Mississippi to the doors of Cincinnati Children's," said 700 Miles to Hope team leader Justin Akin, who lost two young sons, Matthew and Andrew, to HLH. "Together, we can help fight this horrible childhood disease, one pedal stroke at a time."

All proceeds raised during the 700 Miles to Hope ride will be donated directly to the HLH Center of Excellence at Cincinnati Children's, the most experienced medical center in the nation treating HLH. Funds will be used to support the Center's four core priorities of research, education, clinical care and family support.

Donations to the 700 Miles to Hope ride can be made through Hero Network Inc., the world's first and largest social helping network, which uses social media and technology to connect those in need with those who can help ("Where the World Comes to Help"). For more information or to make a donation, please visit here.

About Novimmune

Novimmune SA is a leading drug discovery and development company focused on the creation of antibody-based drugs to benefit patients with inflammatory, auto-immune and other disorders. To date, Novimmune has advanced seven drug candidates to treat a range of conditions. The company has a diverse clinical pipeline that includes NI-0501, NI-0101 and NI-1401.

NI-0501 is an anti-interferon g monoclonal antibody that is currently in a Phase II study as a treatment for the orphan disease Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis, a potentially lethal inflammatory syndrome.

NI-0101 is a first-in-class anti-TLR4 monoclonal antibody. TLR4 is an important receptor on the pathway leading to the activation of the innate immune system. As such, it has been implicated as a target in drug discovery for a range of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, lung disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. NI-0101 has recently successfully completed a Phase I clinical program and Novimmune intends to initially progress it as potentially the first personalized medicine for rheumatoid arthritis.

NI-1401 is a differentiated anti IL-17 monoclonal antibody that binds the 3 forms of IL-17 A and F. It was licensed to Genentech, prior to Phase I initiation, in 2010. Genentech has assumed all responsibility and costs for development and is expected to announce initiation of a Phase II clinical program in early 2015.

Novimmune has also developed a proprietary bi-specific antibody platform to help further expand its pipeline.

In addition to pursuing additional drug discovery, development and commercialization partnerships, the Company plans to bring selected drugs to market for orphan drug applications.

About The Matthew and Andrew Akin Foundation

The Matthew and Andrew Akin Foundation was founded by Justin and Kristin Akin in honor of their two young sons who lost their lives to a rare immune disorder called Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) -- Andrew in 2009 and Matthew in 2010. Currently the only known cure for HLH is a bone marrow transplant. Between the two of them, Matthew and Andrew underwent four transplants, during which time the Akin family lived in and out of three different hospitals. This horrible disease took two wonderful little boys who will be missed forever. In their memory, the foundation is dedicated to helping families who are currently battling HLH and those who will have to in the future. The foundation's core mission is to support the world-renowned experts at the HLH Center of Excellence at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and their four priorities: Research, Education, Clinical Care and Family Support. For more information, please visit

Contact Information:

Jill Queenan
For The Matthew and Andrew Akin Foundation