Halifax, CANADA, March 12, 2012 – Immunovaccine Inc. (“Immunovaccine” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: IMV) has 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 vaccine could become one of several methods of intervention intended to help people in rehabilitation programs.
The project will combine Cornell’s novel cocaine antigen with Immunovaccine’s DepoVax™ adjuvanting platform to strengthen the immune response shown in research animals in previous studies at the College. The new study seeks to create a stronger and longer lasting immunity in mice. If successful, the study could speed the way to human trials with a more effective vaccine than the one announced by Cornell only last year.
Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the project builds on earlier cocaine vaccine work at Weill Cornell in 2010. The previous studies used a viral vector platform linked to a cocaine analog to formulate the vaccine candidate. These results showed the anti-cocaine 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.
“The use of a viral vector linked to a drug analog in order to elicit antibodies and suppress the characteristic drug behavior represents a new approach for addiction treatments,” said Dr. Marc Mansour, Immunovaccine’s Chief Science Officer. “By incorporating the vaccine in DepoVax™, we hope to significantly enhance the level of antibodies produced by the vaccine.”
DepoVax™ is a vaccine adjuvanting platform that works with a variety of antigens to form vaccines to be used in the treatment of cancers and the prevention of many infectious diseases. The company is currently conducting human trials in ovarian cancer. DepoVax™ 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.
No anti-cocaine vaccine has yet been approved by the U.S. FDA. Cocaine abuse affects some 4.8 million Americans each year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, published in 2009. A further 1 million people in the U.S. abuse crack cocaine at least once a year.
Immunovaccine Inc. develops vaccines formulated in its DepoVax™ vaccine adjuvanting platform for cancer therapy and infectious disease. The Company has taken its patented platform technology and proprietary cancer vaccine into Phase I human trials and has demonstrated its safety and immunogenicity potential. Immunovaccine is also capitalizing on the broad potential of its delivery platform by creating new DepoVax-based vaccines through multiple development collaborations. In addition to the Company’s human health vaccine strategy, it continues to capture value from animal health vaccine applications. Pfizer Animal Health has licensed the Company’s delivery technology platform to develop vaccines for livestock. www.imvaccine.com or www.twitter.com/immunovaccine.
This press release contains forward-looking information under applicable securities law. All information that addresses activities or developments that we expect to occur in the future is forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management on the date the statements are made. However, they should not be regarded as a representation that any of the plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this press release due to risks affecting the Company, including access to capital, the successful completion of clinical trials and receipt of all regulatory approvals. Immunovaccine Inc. assumes no responsibility to update forward-looking statements in this press release except as required by law.
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Jennifer Cameron, Director Communications, Immunovaccine Inc.
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Andrew Mielach, Tiberend Strategic Advisors, Inc.
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