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GEN News Highlights : Mar 12, 2012

Immunovaccine, Weill Cornell Medical College to Progress Anticocaine Vaccine

Firm’s adjuvanting technology will be coupled with Cornell’s vaccine.

Immunovaccine signed a research agreement with Weill Cornell Medical College to advance a vaccine for treating cocaine addiction. The new vaccine would stimulate the body's own immune system to prevent cocaine molecules from reaching the brain, blocking the effects of the drug before it produced pleasurable sensations.

The project will combine Cornell's cocaine antigen with Immunovaccine's DepoVax adjuvanting platform. Previous studies have shown potential in animals, and the new study seeks to create a stronger and longer-lasting immunity in mice. If successful, the study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, could speed the way to human trials with a more effective vaccine than the one announced by Cornell only last year.

The previous studies used a viral vector platform linked to a cocaine analog to formulate the vaccine candidate. These results showed the anticocaine vaccine raised antibody levels high enough to sequester the cocaine molecules before the drug reached the brains of the mice and prevented cocaine-related hyperactivity. The new study will determine if the addition of the DepoVax adjuvanting technology will trigger an even stronger and longer-lasting immune response.

DepoVax works with a variety of antigens to form vaccines to be used in the treatment of cancers and the prevention of many infectious diseases. It has been shown to create a unique depot effect that attracts antigen-presenting cells to the injection site to generate a rapid and robust immune response. Immunovaccine is currently conducting human trials in ovarian cancer.