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it with a nanoparticle that is supposed to help it interact with so-called antigen presenting cells in the mucosal lining. These cells are known to process bits of a foreign invader, like flu, and present them to other cells to spark a vigorous immune defense.
Flu vaccines require some time-consuming and costly clinical trials, and so NanoBio’s chief operating officer, David Peralta, made clear to me that the program would require help from a deep-pocketed partner to keep advancing. But back in September, he hinted that the flu trial could really serve as a proof of concept for the nanoparticle vaccine technology, which could be applied by partners pursuing other infectious diseases—like RSV or chronic hepatitis B.
There are other approaches in the works that NanoBio will have to compete against. As I reported in these pages last month, AstraZeneca’s MedImmune unit—the group that developed Synagis—recently obtained a license from Seattle-based Immune Design to an immune-boosting compound it intends to incorporate into an RSV vaccine. And Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY), a leader in RNA interference technology, is moving through clinical trials of an RNAi treatment for RSV.
NanoBio isn’t saying in today’s release how far along its RSV vaccine is in development. But if it can show promise in animal tests and the initial phase of clinical trials, it’s certainly conceivable this thing could generate interest from corporate partners, not just the Gates Foundation.
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