Watertown, Massachusetts, USA, August 16, 2010 – Selecta Biosciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing synthetic nanoparticle vaccines and immunotherapies, today announced that it has been awarded a grant for $3 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an institute within the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant is aimed at advancing the development of an enhanced therapeutic nicotine vaccine for the treatment of smoking cessation and relapse prevention.
The $3 million grant will support the funding of a clinical drug candidate from Selecta's pipeline, and assist with advancing a nicotine vaccine from preclinical through early clinical evaluation. The award is one of a select number of grants provided nationwide by NIH under the unique BRDG-SPAN program (Biomedical Research and Development and Growth To Spur the Acceleration of New Technologies Pilot Program) which is designed to bridge the gap between R&D and commercialization for promising new medical technologies.
"We are delighted that NIDA has recognized the uniqueness and potential advantages of Selecta's synthetic therapeutic vaccines and has elected to support Selecta's tSVP nicotine vaccine, in a very competitive process, to address the enormous unmet medical need of smoking cessation," said Werner Cautreels, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Selecta Biosciences. "We view a nicotine vaccine as one of our promising programs that are poised to advance into human clinical trials based on our progress with Selecta's technology platform"
Selecta's tSVP technology offers in this case a new approach to a nicotine vaccine designed to boost immune responses, or more specifically nicotine antibody titers, beyond previous technologies. Selecta's tSVP immunomodulatory nanoparticles aim to induce highly predictable immune responses, for durable effect in smoking cessation. Although previous research has shown the therapeutic potential for vaccinating against nicotine by inducing nicotine-specific antibodies, published studies with differently designed vaccines show that only a small fraction of study patients achieved anti-nicotine titers sufficient to increase smoking cessation above placebo.
About Smoking Cessation
Through the use of tobacco, nicotine is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs and smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. According to the CDC there are approximately 438,000 premature deaths in the U.S. per year due to smoking and approximately 38,000 lung cancer and heart disease deaths annually were attributable to exposure to secondhand smoke. Additionally, smoking costs the U.S. $97 billion dollars a year in direct healthcare costs and an additional $92 billion a year in productivity losses
About Selecta Biosciences
Selecta Biosciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing first-in-class synthetic nanoparticle vaccines and immunotherapies, with the first applications focused on nanoparticle vaccines using its proprietary targeted Synthetic Vaccine Particle (tSVP™) technology. The tSVP platform enables full-integration of the key vaccine components, antigens and adjuvants, for highly-effective targeting to immune cells to produce an optimal immune response. The tSVP vaccines mimic the structure of natural pathogens with regards to size, shape and the sequence of immunological information that it delivers specifically to immune cells, thus harnessing the body's defense system to produce a robust immune response. The unique attributes of full-integration, targeting and natural structure conferred by the tSVP platform create synthetic nanoparticle vaccines that are engineered for unprecedented safety and efficacy. This novel approach enables expanded opportunities for tSVP vaccines, and the company is pursuing opportunities across a range of high unmet medical need applications, including infectious, metabolic, CNS and inflammatory diseases.
Selecta was founded in 2008 by three academic pioneers in the fields of nanotechnology and immunology: Professor Robert Langer (MIT), and Professors Omid Farokhzad and Ulrich von Andrian (Harvard Medical School). Selecta is backed by leading venture investors including, Polaris Venture Partners, Flagship Ventures, NanoDimension, OrbiMed Advisors and Leukon Investments. For more information please visit the company website at www.selectabio.com.