Therapeutic vaccine based on firm’s antigen-specific technology is designed to halt autoimmune responses.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is providing milestone-based financial support and expertise to aid Selecta Bioscience’s development of a vaccine for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. The aim of the progam is to develop a therapeutic vaccine based on Selecta’s antigen-specific tolerogenic vaccine technology designed to halt or prevents the autoimmune response that causes type 1 diabetes.

Selecta claims a tolerogenic diabetes vaccine based on its platform could potentially also be used in conjunction with other treatments to help preserve remaining beta cell function in recently diagnosed patients, or alongside regenerative or replacement therapies to protect newly regenerated or transplanted insulin-producing beta cells in established cases of disease.

The research collaboration with Selecta falls within the JDRF’s Industry Discovery and Development Partnership (IDDP) initiative, through which it works with the industry on new treatments for type 1 diabetes.

Selecta’s targeted vaccine approach hinges on its Synthetic Vaccine Particle (SVP™) platform, which is designed to induce either antigen-specific immune activation or antigen-specific immune tolerance, for both therapeutic and prophylactic candidates, the firm states. Targeted SVP candidates (tSVPs) comprise a B-cell antigen, T-cell antigen, and adjuvant, packaged into a fully-integrated synthetic nanoparticle vaccine designed to stimulate an antigen-specific immune response.

In contrast, targeted tolerogenic Synthetic Vaccine Particle (t2SVP™) candidates are designed to induce an antigen-specific immune tolerance by instructing the immune system to prevent and suppress pro-inflammatory responses specifically against the antigen presented in the vaccine. Potential applications for the t2SVP technology include autoimmune diseases, allergies, and transplant rejection, Selecta claims. The t2SVP tolerogenic vaccine for treating type 1 diabetes is currently at the discovery phase.

Selecta has generated targeted tSVPs that elicit robust immune responses to small molecules, peptides, oligosaccharides, and proteins, and which target either humoral or cellular pathways in a range of therapeutic areas. The firm’s pipeline is headed by SEL-068, a tSVP for smoking cessation and relapse prevention, which is projected to start in first-in-man trials during late 2011. Additional lead optimization and discovery-stage candidates include a universal HPV tSVP, a universal tSVP for influenza, and candidates targeting allergy and cancers.

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