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Selecta Biosciences Strikes Vaccine Partnership with Sanofi

Russian nanotech fund will invest up to $25 million as Selecta sets up Russian research center.


The Burrill Report

“Selecta said it is slated to receive up to $25 million in several tranches from Rusnano.”

Selecta Biosciences and Sanofi will work together to discover highly targeted, antigen-specific immunotherapies for life-threatening allergies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Selecta is eligible to receive pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory, and sales milestones totaling up to $300 million per allergen indication for up to three immunotherapy candidates. Should the partnership succeed in bringing new products to market, Selecta would also gain double-digit tiered royalties from net sales.

“In allergies, as well as autoimmune diseases, organ transplantation, and protein replacement therapies, there is a lack of specific, effective and safe treatments to prevent undesired immune reactions,” says Werner Cautreels, Selecta’s president and CEO.

While conventional strategies using broad-acting immunosuppressive drugs can be associated with undesired immune responses, Selecta’s patented SVP technology can be used to create targeted vaccines that induce an antigen-specific immune activation or antigen-specific immune tolerance.

The deal grants Sanofi an exclusive license to develop an immunotherapy designed to abate acute immune responses against a life threatening food allergen and an option to develop two additional candidate immunotherapies for allergies to a specific food or airborne allergen.

The Watertown, Massachusetts-based company has created two antigen-specific nanoparticle technologies: targeted synthetic vaccine particles and antigen-specific targeted tolerogenic synthetic vaccine particles. Targeted synthetic vaccine particles activate immune responses to a wide array of antigens, with potential applications in cancer, infectious diseases, and addiction. Targeted tolerogenic synthetic vaccine particles induce antigen-specific immune tolerance, with potential applications in autoimmune diseases, allergies, protein replacement therapies, and transplant rejection.

Selecta is also drawing support from Rusnano, Russia’s government-back nanotechnology-focused venture fund. At the same time as it announced its agreement with Sanofi, Selecta said it is slated to receive up to $25 million in several tranches from Rusnano and will become the fund’s first portfolio company in the pharmaceutical sector to open a research center in Russia.

Selecta’s pipeline currently contains smoking cessation and malaria vaccines backed by the National Institutes of Health, a type-1 diabetes vaccine partnered with JDRF, and other vaccines for allergies.

November 30, 2012

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