Skip to NavigationSkip to content

Novartis buys rights to smoking vaccine

Published on 10/05/07 at 12:25pm

Smokers who are addicted to the nicotine in their daily cigarettes could soon receive a vaccine to help them kick their habit.

Swiss pharma giant Novartis has bought rights to develop and market the vaccine from biotech company Cytos, paying up to $500 million in payments and royalties, a move that could make the product a blockbuster.

But the product, named CYT002-NicQb is currently in phase II and has yet to prove conclusively its effects on smokers' nicotine addiction. Data from phase II studies show the vaccine has the potential to help smokers quit, but its full potential will only be shown in phase III trials, due to start in late 2008.

"This unique compound complements our efforts to provide a range of new treatment options to patients and physicians across a wide range of respiratory diseases," said Thomas Ebeling, chief executive of Novartis Pharma. "Smoking remains a cause of many fatal diseases, and vaccine technology represents an important new approach to help people overcome their addiction to nicotine and stop smoking permanently."

NicQb is one of several therapeutic vaccines being developed by Cytos using its proprietary Immunodrug technology. Instead of building antibodies to destroy infections like traditional vaccines, the compounds train the immune system to produce antibodies to prevent or treat chronic diseases.

A rival anti-nicotine vaccine is being developed by Celtic Pharma, but its molecule TA-NIC will only enter phase II this year.

Another Novartis developmental compound, CAD106, was acquired from Cytos in 2001 as a vaccine therapy for Alzheimer's disease, but is still in phase I clinical trials.

Mission Statement is a leading portal for the pharmaceutical industry, providing industry professionals with pharma news, pharma events, pharma service company listings and pharma jobs,
Site content is produced by our editorial team exclusively for and our industry newspaper Pharmafocus. Service company profiles and listings are taken from our pharmaceutical industry directory, Pharmafile, and presented in a unique Find and Compare format to ensure the most relevant matches