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Sanofi spots acne vaccine opportunity

Published on 22/09/11 at 09:53am

Sanofi Pasteur has signed a new research deal with the University of California, San Diego for its investigational acne vaccine.

Sanofi’s vaccines division Sanofi Pasteur will work with the University of California, San Diego, on an immunological approach to acne prevention.

The vaccine, which will now pass into phase I clinical testing, will target the specific neutralisation of Propionibacterium acnes factors in inflammation and could represent a new way of treating the disease.

The disease has a number of complex factors, but is associated in particular with the Gram-positive anaerobic bacterium P. acnes, which normally live within human skin.

The agreement includes a two-year research collaboration with Dr Chun-Ming Huang and his associates at UC San Diego School of Medicine for further research and development.  

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but Sanofi believes the global market for acne medicines is worth around $3 billion.

Current treatments include topical ointments, antibacterials and some hormonal drugs.

Roche’s Accutane (isotretinoin) was one of the biggest sellers in the market until it lost its patent protection in 2002, but was dogged by serious safety concerns for most of its product lifecycle.

Elias Zerhouni, president of global R&D at Sanofi, said: “This opportunity could provide an immunotherapeutic product with significant benefits and a novel mechanism of action to address an unmet medical need.

“This investigational vaccine and treatment may lead to a better solution for the many who suffer from this skin disease,” Zerhouni added.

Acne is an extremely common multi-factorial skin disease with a prevalence of 80-90% in adolescents.

It is considered a chronic disease for a limited lifetime period and, although often a simple and self-limited condition, it can result in psychological, physical and social problems for those affected.

Ben Adams

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