updated 11/4/2010 7:16:06 AM ET 2010-11-04T11:16:06

LEXINGTON, Mass., Nov. 4, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Antigenics Inc. (Nasdaq:AGEN) today announced that it has been awarded $424,720 in grants under the IRS' Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project (QTDP) program. The grants were awarded in recognition of our two qualifying programs: AG-707, a phase 1 therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of genital herpes and QS-21 Stimulon® adjuvant. The QTDP program was established as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Under the program, projects were selected by the Treasury Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. In order to qualify, projects had to incur preclinical or clinical research costs during 2009 or 2010 and be designed to result in one or more new therapies to treat or prevent a disease or condition representing an unmet medical need, reduce long-term health care costs in the U.S. and demonstrate the potential to enhance U.S. competitiveness and create high quality jobs in the U.S.

About AG-707

AG-707 is an off-the-shelf therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of genital herpes, which is caused by the herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2). The vaccine is based on Antigenics' heat shock protein (HSP) platform technology. In a four-arm, phase 1 study (n=35), all patients who were evaluable for immune response and received AG-707 with QS-21 showed a statistically significant CD4+ T cell response (100%; 7/7) to HSV-2 antigens, and the majority of those patients demonstrated a CD8+ T cell response (63%; 5/8). Eliciting both of these types of immune responses is a first-of-its-kind achievement in herpes therapy.

While the initial focus of development has been in HSV-2, this HSP technology platform can potentially be utilized for off-the-shelf treatment of many types of infectious diseases such as HPV, HIV, hepatitis, malaria and tuberculosis. AG-707 consists of recombinant human heat shock protein-70 complexed with 32 distinct 35-mer synthetic peptides from the HSV-2 proteome. This broad spectrum of herpes antigens is intended to allow for more accurate immune targeting and surveillance, reducing the likelihood of immune escape. Further, the diversity of antigens in AG-707 increases the chance of providing efficacy for a wide segment of the patient population.

About QS-21 Stimulon Adjuvant

Antigenics' QS-21 Stimulon adjuvant is one of the most widely tested vaccine adjuvants under development. QS-21 has not only become a critical component in the development of preventative vaccine formulations across a wide variety of infectious diseases, but may also be essential in enabling a new generation of therapeutic vaccines to treat cancer, infectious diseases and degenerative disorders. QS-21 is currently being evaluated in approximately 20 vaccines, of which several are in late-stage clinical trials, including four in phase 3. Studies are being conducted by Antigenics' licensees, including GlaxoSmithKline and JANSSEN Alzheimer Immunotherapy.

About Antigenics

Antigenics is a biotechnology company working to develop treatments for cancers and infectious diseases. For more information, please visit www.antigenics.com .

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the development and potential application of Antigenics' AG-707 and QS-21 technologies. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, that results of future trials of AG-707 and product candidates containing QS-21 may be unfavorable; decisions by partners, licensees, physicians, patients, and regulatory agencies; availability of funding and other resources; and the factors described under the Risk Factors section of Antigenics' Form 10-Q as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarter ended June 30, 2010. Antigenics cautions investors not to place considerable reliance on any forward-looking statements contained in this press release. These statements speak only as of the date of this document, and Antigenics undertakes no obligation to update or revise the statements. All forward- looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. Antigenics' business is subject to substantial risks and uncertainties, including those identified above. When evaluating Antigenics' business and securities, investors should give careful consideration to these risks and uncertainties.

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