British Firm Tests World's First Nicotine Vaccine
LONDON (Reuters) - A British biotechnology company, already developing a vaccine to help addicts kick cocaine, said on Monday it had started clinical trials on the world's first nicotine addiction vaccine.
The product, which is given by injection into the muscle, aims to prevent the addictive cycle of cigarette smoking by stopping nicotine from entering the brain.
However, the initial Phase I study of TA-NIC will merely assess its safety and tolerability at different doses, and researchers still have several years work ahead of them to prove the efficacy of the product.
David Oxlade, chief executive of Xenova Group Plc, the company behind the project, said the vaccine could eventually have an important role to play in helping smokers quit.
Currently available smoking cessation products include nicotine replacement therapy, delivered via skin patches or chewing gum, as well as drugs like GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Zyban.
TA-NIC and Xenova's anti-cocaine vaccine TA-CD work by generating antibodies in the bloodstream that prevent nicotine and cocaine from crossing into the brain, thereby blocking the normal ``high'' generated by the drugs.
Xenova has a total of eight products in clinical trials, the most valuable of which is deemed to be XR 9576, designed to fight multi-drug resistant cancer. Xenova struck a $105 million licensing deal for XR 9576 with Vancouver-based QLT Inc last month.