NanoBio and U-M To Develop Vaccine Against Urinary Tract Infections

4/20/11Follow @xconomy

NanoBio said today it signed a licensing deal with the University of Michigan to help commercialize a vaccine against urinary tract infections (UTI).

The biopharmaceutical startup, based in Ann Arbor, MI, wants to use its NanoStat platform technology to deliver through the nose an antigen developed by U-M scientists designed to kill E. coli bacteria in the urinary tract.

Women are especially vulnerable to the disease, though researchers are not sure why. Doctors normally rely on antibiotics to treat the UTI; however, there’s currently no way to prevent infection.

NanoBio hopes to be one of the first companies to successfully develop a vaccine. Until now, scientists have yet of figure out how to coax the body to effectively deliver large molecules like antibodies to mucosal surfaces of the urinary tract, where the infection occurs, the company said. NanoBio is betting that it has figured out how to deliver its vaccine there, through its nanoparticle delivery technology.

“We are confident the combination of effective UTI antigens with NanoBio’s NanoStat adjuvant platform technology will result in strong mucosal immunity that can prevent these infections,” Ali Fattom, NanoBio’s senior vice president of vaccine research and development, said in a statement.

Once NanoBio proves the treatment works in mice, it says it will be ready to begin a human clinical trial. The company did not offer a timetable.

Some research, however, suggests URI may be beyond the reach of just one vaccine. E. coli causes the vast majority of UTI cases but slightly different strains of the bacteria have been found after each subsequent infection, according to the National Kidney and Urological Diseases Information Clearinghouse. That implies each infection is unique.

NanoBio, founded by U-M nanotech expert Jim Baker Jr., spun out of the U-M’s Center for Biologic Nanotechnology in 2000. Backed by the private equity firm Perseus, the company is pursuing treatments for herpes labialis (cold sores), onychomycosis (nail fungus), acne, cystic fibrosis and mucosal vaccines for influenza, pneumococcal infections and RSV.

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